Cover photo for Louis E Welch, Jr's Obituary
Louis E Welch, Jr Profile Photo
1927 Louis 2020

Louis E Welch, Jr

September 13, 1927 — October 17, 2020

Louis E. “Lew” Welch Jr., 93, formerly of Wood River passed away peacefully Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Tiffany Square in Grand Island.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 AM Thursday, October 22, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wood River with Fr. Jorge Canela officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in the St. Mary’s Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 PM Wednesday, October 21 at the church with a Rosary to follow at 7 PM. Memorials are suggested to the Wood River Community Foundation and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Wood River. Those attending will be requested to wear a mask. Masks will be available at the church if needed.

Lew was born on September 13, 1927 in Evanston, IL to Marie (Hodell) and Louis E. Welch Sr. He graduated in 1945 from Catholic Central High School in Springfield, OH. He enlisted in the Navy Air Corp and was honorably discharge in 1947.

Lew met the love of his life, Phyllis “Sunny” Reck, while both were attending Denison university in Granville, OH, graduating in 1949. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Lew and Sunny were united in marriage on July 8, 1950 in Springfield, OH. They made their home in Omaha, NE, Hutchinson, KS, North Platte, NE and Bethlehem, PA having five children along the way. They settled in Wood River in 1958 and added six more children. It was there they raised all ‘leben’ of them in the big white house on the corner. In 2012 they moved to Grand Island.

After a year in casualty insurance, Lew joined the Bank of Wood River in 1958, eventually becoming Vice President and Auditor, then Director.

In his 34 active banking years, Lew working on a number of Wood River community activities. He served on the board and building committee for St. Mary’s Church. He also served as president and secretary of bort the Business Association and the Lions Club, where he was additionally a director and treasurer. For 28 years Lew was and active member of the Volunteer Fire Dept., many as treasurer and briefly as Chief. He was a charter member of the Rescue Squad and helped raise funds for the Good Samaritan Home.

Lew was director and treasurer for over 40 years of the Wood River Fair Association. A founding member of the Wood River Centennial Foundation, he served as president and treasurer. He was a charter member of the Fort Kearney Antique Car Club and Wood River Country Club, serving on several committees. As an American Legion member, he was elected Finance Officer and served on the building committee which raised funds to build a new hall.

He also held memberships in the Elks Club, the Knights of Columbus (lifetime), and the GI Coin Club; was a Commodore of the Sherman Yacht Club and on the Banking Committee of the Independent Association of Insurance Agents of Nebraska. He was a charter member of Nebraska Pilots Association and served as its President. He was also regional Vice President of the United States Pilots Association.

Lew’s passions were family, community, traveling with Sunny, woodworking, sailing and flying. Many family members and friends were recipients of his one-of-a-kind wood pieces and plane rides. And song! He loved music, to sing silly songs to his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. To teach them to appreciate music. He valued friendships and time with the Kearney Area 1733 Barbershop Chorus.

Those left to follow in his big footsteps are six daughters and sons-in-law, Terri (Tom) Hongsermeier of Ravenna, NE, Suzie (Arch) Mrkvicka of Owatonna, MN, Nancy (Rick) Ryerson of Oakland, CA, Patti (Tracy) Potter of Kansas City, MO, Vicki (Mike) Palu of Grand Island, NE and Peggy (Tim) Abramson of Franksville, WI; five sons and four daughters-in-law, Skip Welch of Phoenix, AZ, Rick (Tracy) Welch of Niceville, FL, Jack (Joyce) Welch of Doniphan, NE, Jim (Margaret) Welch of Arlington, WA, and Don (Vicki) Welch of Colleyville, TX; 29 grandchildren; 14 great grandchildren; sister, Gert Johnstone of Springfield, OH and many nieces and nephews.

Lew was preceded in death by his wife, Sunny, his parents and two sisters.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Louis E Welch, Jr, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

St. Mary's Catholic Church

1108 Dodd Street, Wood River, NE 68883

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

mass of christian burial

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Mary's Catholic Church

1108 Dodd Street, Wood River, NE 68883

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


St. Mary's Cemetery

, Wood River, NE 68883

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 11

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree