Bruce Welch III '75 February 17, 2020 2:07 PM updated: February 17, 2020 2:18 PM
Bruce Frederich Welch III, age 66, passed away on Monday, November 25th in San Antonio, Texas with Mark Welch, Ken Gould and Chris Price at his side. He was born in Munich, Germany on October 12, 1953 to Christine Wallek Welch of Cieszyn, Poland and Bruce
Welch, Jr., of Crossett, Arkansas.
As an Air Force brat, he lived in Munich, Germany, Arkansas, Hawaii, Florida, South Carolina and Texas till he was 12.
Bruce excelled in baseball. There are newspaper clippings to prove it. He was a good pitcher, had a pretty awesome fastball and apparently performed an unassisted triple play once.
He was around 12 in 1966 when our father died of cancer at WHMC. Asked once about how that affected him, ('cause there was no hospice and no grief counseling) he said: "You get used to it… but you never get over it." After the death of our father, I saw Bruce cry 2 times; at our father's funeral and at our mother's funeral.
Bruce made some hard decisions. He didn't take advice from many although he was happy to give it. In high school, although he was good in sports, he joined ROTC. He graduated in 1971 from Roosevelt High School, decided to go to Texas A&M. He joined the corps of cadets and never looked back. While there, he discovered C&W dancing and spent his free time in a warehouse size dance hall called, "Lake View," (no view of a lake) and Sparky's Pizza where he would dance the night away. He taught myself and many of my friends how to dance, mostly women.
He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and serve his country. He was a true and fierce patriot. After some consideration, he eventually settled on the U.S. Army, field artillery (the big guns). As a young, shave tail Lieutenant, he was assigned to Friedburg, Germany, 3rd Armor Division, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, guarding The Fulda Gap, a centuries old military campaign route used by invaders from the east and a route the Soviet Forces would most likely use in the event of war. He was there roughly from '76 to '80. It was the end of the Cold War. The quality of troops was not good. Senior officers to mentor him were few. He spent a lot of time teaching soldiers to read and ddealing with their drug habits. He was burned out. Eventually he found officer slots working in the Texas Guard and Army Reserves, where he trained artillery units under his command and performed various logistical support duties. He was awarded several awards and decorations, but I could not find the paperwork listing them.
He retired as an LTC around 2006 after a stint at Ft. Sam Houston during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when he began to lose his memory. Early on-set Alzheimers. Those 3 words changed our lives forever. Alas, this was an enemy none of us could fight.
Bruce was his own man. He did not suffer fools. He was not afraid to speak his mind; although, he seldom spoke his heart. He was kind. He would give you the shirt off his back. He was free and open with his opinion and advice.
He was a warrior. And he was keenly aware that fear was the enemy. The only quote I ever heard him recite from memory was from the Dune Science Fiction series: "I must not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it is gone, I will turn to see it's path. Where the fear has gone, there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
I think Bruce had an ideal: that of standing on a line, with the enemy in front and family, friends, and home in back and saying: "Not on my watch. You shall not pass." That appealed to him. And I hope God gives him broad wings and a sharp sword because I've always seen him as a protector and a guardian.
He was a jokester, to put it mildly. He made no apologies for that. He was intelligent, with degrees in business and psychology and an MBA. He was unafraid to speak truth to power, to speak truth to anybody. He was my brother and a brother and mentor to many.
He was Bruce.
Bruce was a big fan of Tolkien:
I found a quote from Lord of the Rings that I think he would like:
"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps greater."
From the Army: The Warrior Ethos;
The mission comes first,
Never accept defeat,
Never leave a fallen comrade behind.
Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." ... "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
He was preceded in death by his father, Bruce Frederick Welch, Jr., and his mother, Christine S. Welch. He is survived by his brother, Mark J. Welch; sister-in-law, Maria de Jesus Welch; niece, Sophia Christina Welch; and nephew, Gabriel Austin Welch, as well as many, many surrogate brothers, sisters and at least one mother.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2019
FORT SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL CEMETARY
The family will welcome friends at the home of Chris and Nancy Price, 331 Adams St., San Antonio, TX 78210.
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