Cover photo for John James Welsh, Jr.'s Obituary
John James Welsh, Jr. Profile Photo

John James Welsh, Jr.

May 15, 1936 — March 1, 2023

John James Welsh, Jr.

John James Welsh, Jr. of Gladwin, Michigan

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, at ShorePoint Health in Port Charlotte, Florida. He was 86 years old. John James Welsh Jr. was born on May 15, 1936, in Brant, Michigan, to the late John and Isabelle (Taylor) Welsh. In his formal years of education began at Shadynook School where he completed 1st through 8th grade. John then went on to attend Merrill High School where he joined the varsity basketball and football teams, proudly graduated in 1954. Growing up in a rural community, he learned the importance and value of hard work by milking cows by hand. John was a member of the Merrill FFA and attended Michigan State University where he went on to study Agriculture Farming. His love story began as a 12-year-old boy, meeting the love of his life, Jean Bigelow, while the two were attending opposing schools. They dated, fell in love, and were united in marriage on September 15, 1956, in Angola, Indiana. An athletic man, John played both baseball and softball and participated in various leagues throughout Marion Springs. He also excelled in bowling and joined many leagues over the years. John was employed by General Motors Steering Gear Plant 2 for over 27 years; retiring at the age of 55. He farmed crops, raised pigs, cattle, chickens, and rabbits, bought ponies and horses, all while still working a full-time job. The absolute honor and privilege of his lifetime, and a role he took seriously, was to be the most loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather in the entire world. A faithful man, John was a longtime member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wheeler where he volunteered his time to serve the Lord as a Sunday School Superintendent and a youth softball coach. He was also a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Gladwin, Michigan. John served his community civically as a 27-year member of the Harrison Moose Lodge, a 41-year member of Gladwin Eagles, and was head of the shuffleboard teams at Toby's RV park in Acadia Florida. Throughout the years, John enjoyed collecting hats, having over 400 that he proudly displayed in his basement. An avid outdoorsman, John also enjoyed hunting turkeys, pheasants, and deer on his family farm in Merrill, fishing on Wiggins Lake on his pontoon, riding his razor on poker runs, and camping with his family. A cold Stroh's beer was often a refreshing break from farming and hunting. John and Jean's little piece of heaven was spending their winter months in Florida, summers at their lake home in Gladwin, celebrating happy hour every day at 4:00 p.m. with wine or a beer in hand, and dancing to his favorite songs, The Fireman, Orange Blossom Special and Johnny Be Good. Beautiful memories were shared and created as he and Jean traveled all over the United States including Hawaii and Canada. He left his indelible mark on this world through his innate ability to connect with all people, always with a smile, and making friends wherever he landed. Above all, John was a family man and treasured and cherished the time he was able to spend with his family shooting pool, playing cards, and fast tracking. He will forever be remembered fondly as "Papa" by his grandchildren and affectionately as “Poopsie” by Jean, for the charming smile and gaze he gave to those he loved, and for always cheering for his favorite teams, the Detroit Tigers and University of Michigan.

Surviving are his loving wife of 66 years, Jean Welsh of Gladwin; three daughters and a son: Jodie (Hugh) Rose of Beaverton; Brian James Welsh of Merrill; Penny (Jeff) Harms of Midland; Jeanine (Joe) Radosa of Midland; nine grandchildren: Stacie Rose, Janel (Chad) DeMoines, Brenden (Christine) Welsh, Andy Welsh, Sean (Alexandra) Welsh, Chelsea Radosa, Cameron (Kaylee) Radosa, Travis Radosa and his fiancée Marissa Lupcke, and Ryan Harms; a step-grandson, Milo DeMoines; eight great-grandchildren: Liam Welsh, Henry Welsh, Melanie Welsh, Benjamin Welsh, Carlynn Welsh, Londyn Welsh, Hunter Rose, Tatum John Radosa; two siblings: Danny Welsh and Jim (Eileen) Felker; brothers- and sisters-in-law: Gail Felke and Eva Welsh; Larry Bigelow, Janice (Gale) Devereaux, Beverly Fillhard, Sharon (Don) Ferguson, Terry (Sandy) Bigelow, and Carrie Bigelow. Also surviving are many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by two daughters, JoEllen and Jonine Sue Welsh; daughter-in-law, Margo Welsh; father, John Welsh Sr.; mother and stepfather, Isabel and Lyle Kerridge; siblings: Debbie, Jeff, Bill, and Bob; great-grandmother, Mary Welsh; aunts and uncles: Clarence Welsh, Jim and Babe Muter, and Howard and Marian Welsh; brothers-and sisters-in-law: Gerald and Rita Bigelow, Carlyle Bigelow, Virginia and Carl Cole Donna Bigelow, Lyndyn Fiihard.

A Funeral Service will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 10020 E. Monroe Road, Wheeler. Rev. Michael Podeszwa will officiate. Burial will follow at Lakefield Township Cemetery. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the W. L. Case & Company Funeral Chapel, 125 E. Saginaw St., Merrill, Michigan, on Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and at the church on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the service. In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to the wishes of the Welsh Family c/o Jean Welsh. Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at the funeral home, church, or through www.casefuneralhome.com.

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Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 10, 2023

1:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Visitation

Saturday, March 11, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, March 11, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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