Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rest in Peace Ted Welch 1933-2014

Ted Welch
I don't recall how it came about that I first met Ted Welch. I don't know if someone made the introduction and got me the appointment or if someone simply suggested he was someone I ought to go see and I made a cold call, but in 1980 when I decided to run for Metro Council I remember meeting with Ted Welch. Almost everyone told me I didn't stand a chance running for Council. At the time I did not have deep roots in the Woodbine community and one almost had to have the support of Sheriff Fate Thomas and Mack Smith to get elected and I did not. Also, the former council member for the district I was running in, who was then a Councilman-at-large, who was wealthy and well known in Woodbine was supporting my opponent. My chances looked very slim. Most people told me I did not stand a chance.

Ted Welch encouraged me, gave me good advice and a contribution. I will be forever grateful to Ted Welch. I did not know at the time what an important person Ted Welch was or how important he would become. By then he had already helped Winfield Dunn and Lamar Alexander get elected to high office. Later he would become important to helping Presidents get elected. Ted Welch became  one of the most influential people in the Republican party and one of the party's largest fundraisers. Over the years I would occasionally meet Mr. Welch at functions. He struck me as a caring, principled person. He was always humble and gracious. He was never arrogant or puffed up with his own importance. He was someone you immediately liked. He was a good person and a patriot.

Below are tributes and obituaries of Ted Welch:

Corker Statement on Passing of Ted Welch 
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement today on the passing of Ted Welch.

“Ted Welch's passing marks the end of an era in Tennessee Republican history,” said Corker. “Not only will Ted be remembered for his energy, loyalty and drive but also for being a friend to many, admired by many and a powerhouse in Tennessee and across the country.”

Alexander Statement on Ted Welch
MARYVILLE, March 8 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the passing of Ted Welch:

“Ted Welch raised millions to support candidates for public office, symphonies and other charitable causes and, in my experience, never asked for one thing for himself in return. He was tireless. As a volunteer, he traveled with me to 250 presidential campaign fundraising events during one year.  The most feared seven words among those who knew him were, ‘Ted Welch is holding on line one.’ Honey and I will miss him greatly and extend our sympathies to Colleen and to his family.”

Chairman Devaney Statement on the Passing of GOP Giant, Ted Welch 
NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement after learning of the passing of his friend, Ted Welch. “It was sad to hear this morning about the passing of our friend Ted Welch. Ted did so much for the Republican Party, both in Tennessee and nationally. Ted lived the American Dream and his positive, can-do attitude, was contagious. When I took over as the chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, Ted was the first person I sought out for advice in how to get our Party prepared financially for the upcoming election. His advice was crucial to our success. “Ted was a generous man, with a big heart and a servant of Tennessee. He will truly be missed.”

Ted Welch, Tennessee GOP fundraising giant, dead at 80 The Tennessean, Mar. 8, 2014 -
Ted Welch, the pre-eminent fundraiser in Tennessee Republican politics for four decades, whose unmatched ability to turn phone calls into big bucks for governors, senators and U.S. presidents made him a giant in the GOP, died on Saturday.

He was 80.

Mr. Welch died around 6:30 a.m. at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a result of complications from a December fall, said his wife, Colleen Conway-Welch.

A onetime door-to-door Bible salesman and longtime Nashville commercial real estate investor, Mr. Welch became a political money man of the South, helping the likes of Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, Mitt Romney and others. (link)

Ted Houston Welch Obituary 
From the Tennessean, Nashville, TN- Ted Houston Welch, Nashville businessman and longtime fundraiser for the Republican Party, passed away Saturday, March 8th, 2014. Mr. Welch passed away at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Colleen Conway Welch. Ted had 3 adoring daughters with Joanne C. Thornton. He is preceded in death by his parents, Hilda Houston, his father, Louis Welch; his sister, Patsy Welch Peach; brother, Fred Welch and his oldest daughter, Kala Welch MacLeod of Nashville.

He is survived by his daughters, Terri Welch Schmidt-Fellner and Alicia Welch Davenport, both of Atlanta. He left behind sons-in-law, Don Macleod, Blair Schmidt-Fellner and David Davenport. He is also survived by his sister, Mae Welch Phy of McEwen; loving friend, Gwen Collier; his sisters-in-law, Peggy Conway, and Kathy Conway and her daughter, his goddaughter, Lexi Woop. Ted had 5 grandchildren, Lauren MacLeod, Meredith Macleod, Tee Schmidt-Fellner, Alex Schmidt-Fellner, Pierce Schmidt-Fellner, and many nieces and nephews. He will be greatly missed by his adored dogs, Sarge and Little Bit, and his cat, TC.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 15th at Westminster Presbyterian Church at 2:30 p.m. After the service, the family will be receiving visitors at the Welch residence.

Honorary Pallbearers include: Senator Lamar Alexander, Janet and Jim Ayers, Russell Boac, Julie and Dr. Frank Boehm, Senator Bill Brock, Jean and Denny Bottorff, Dr. Daniel Claassen, Gwen Collier, Charlotte and Tom Cone, the Honorable Lew Conner, Senator Bob Corker, David Davenport, Governor Winfield Dunn, Senator Bill Frist, Bill Hagerty, Governor Bill Haslam, Jim Haslam, Spencer Hayes, Nancy and Billy Ray Hearn, Debbie Hill, Darlene Holland, Gordon Inman, Dr. Kathy Kunkel, Sandra Lipman, Don MacLeod, Rob McCabe, Rick Michaels, Susie Overman, Dr. John Peach, Bob Perkins, Blair Scmidt-Fellner, John Seigenthaler, Mary Ruth and Bob Shell, Susan and Luke Simmons, Steven Smith, Ellen Smogur, Bobby Thomas, Ben Wilkenson, Howard Wilkins and Steve Woodard. (link)

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