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Robert “Bob” Welch, 74, of Wisconsin Dells, passed away peacefully Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, after a courageous battle with lung cancer.

Robert was born May 26, 1943, in Melrose Park, Illinois, the son of Albert and Betty (Lowe) Welch. His family moved to the Baraboo area in 1956. Prior to graduating, he joined the United States Army, serving from 1961 to 1963 in the 1st Infantry Division stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Like Bob always said, “If you’re going to be One, be a Big Red One.” In 2013, at the age of 69, he went back to school and proudly earned his high school diploma.

In November 1980, he married Mary Ann Horkan in Wisconsin Dells, his “lovely bride” for 37 years. After his military service, Bob held various jobs between Baraboo and Madison before working for Baraboo Foods (Sysco) as a meat merchandiser from 1970 to 1980, then with Wisconsin Provisions, AJ Sweet, Balsmeider’s Distributing and finally for Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant for nearly 20 years, retiring in 2006.

Bob’s favorite hobby was sports. His childhood was much like his favorite movie, “The Sandlot,” riding his bike with his glove on his belt from pickup game to pickup game. He enjoyed playing baseball and softball and loved watching sports. March Madness was the highlight followed by the Packers, Badgers and Brewers. He grew up going to Wrigley Field with his dad and always held a soft spot for the Cubs. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Dells Area Vets, South Central Shamrock Club, was an active usher at church and a certified Green Bay Packer shareholder.

His legacy will carry on through his wife Mary Ann; daughters, Alison (Patrick) Midden of St. Paul, Minnesota, Tracey (Justin) Buck and Terry Welch both of Wisconsin Dells; a son Michael Welch of Madison; grandchildren, Annabelle and Daniel Midden, Bailey Welch, and Natalie Buck; brothers, John (Jan) Welch of Wichita, Kansas and Patrick Welch of Mooresville, North Carolina; a sister Mary (Tim) Barnard of Bozeman, Montana; brother-in-law, Mike (Marshia) Horkan of Wisconsin Dells; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a sister Nancy Benson; grandson Nicholas Midden; parents-in-law, Tom and Gertrude Horkan; and brother-in-law, Marty Horkan.

He had a nickname for most, a witty comment for all, and the heart of a Golden Goose. If you met him, you most definitely have a story to tell, please come share it with us. Rock Chalk.

In lieu of flowers, memorials will be used for a scholarship fund to help people hoping to complete high school with a general equivalency degree.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Wisconsin Dells, with Father Eric Sternberg celebrating. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Wisconsin Dells with military rites provided by the Harold B. Larkin American Legion Post 187. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church.

The Picha Funeral Home and Crematory of Wisconsin Dells assisted the family with arrangements. For online condolences and information, visit pichafuneralhome.com.