Cover photo for Robert E. Welch's Obituary
Robert E. Welch Profile Photo

Robert E. Welch

October 1, 1923 — August 4, 2016

Robert "Bob" E. Welch, 92, of Frankfort, KS, died Thursday, August 4, 2016 at the Frankfort Community Care Home. Visitation was Monday, August 8, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Padden Funeral Chapel in Frankfort. The family received friends from 5 to 7 p.m. A funeral service was held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 9 at the Frankfort United Methodist Church. Rev. Michael McKee and Rev. Robert Blair officiated. Jerry Stowell gave the eulogy. Janet Plegge played the organ while Kim Stewart sang “In the Garden” and “Humble & Kind”. The congregational hymn was “Old Rugged Cross”. The pallbearers were Robert Tilley, Ralph Burton, Dean Seematter, Joe Parthemer, Chet Fincham, Jr., and Jerry Parthemer. The honorary pallbearers were Dean Johnson, Don Parthemer, John Johnson, and Arthur C. Gruber. Burial was in the Frankfort Cemetery. Robert was born October 1, 1923 at Wichita, KS, to Elmer & Inez Welch. After high school, as the war continued to build, he enlisted in the Army/Air Force. He attended the Air Force Cadet School in Spearfish, SD for college and pilot training. He was transferred overseas as a belly gunner in the ball turret of a B17. Shipping out of Elizabeth, NJ on a ship owned by Rockefeller, they sailed to the equator then returned north before crossing to England. This maneuver was an attempt to avoid the German U-Boats off shore. Bob was stationed in Kimbolton, England with the "Triangle K 117" within the 379th Bombardment Group. His last mission was part of the "Thousand Plane Raid". He returned to the US after flying planes home through Greenland and Iceland. He touched down in Bradley Field, CT and took a train home to Hoisington. Bob traveled to several bomb group reunions and stayed in touch with his airplane crew throughout his entire life. Following the war, he worked in the oil fields of KS, OK, TX, & CO as a driller, eventually establishing his home in Frankfort, KS. In 1950, Bob married Doris Blair in Wichita. They came to Frankfort in 1953 with his brother Jack and JoAnn and began Welch Brothers Meat Company. Later, their brother Jim and his wife Barbara joined them. The three brothers were in business together for over 50 years. They worked side by side and made all decisions together. They raised cattle and sold to customers in a 100-mile radius of Frankfort. Later Bob handled the cattle, Jack managed the meat market, and Jim ran the grocery store. Bob was a member of the Masonic Lodge for 64 years; the American Legion for 63 years; and later the Odd Fellows. To Bob the most important value in life was family. The three brothers raised their families together. He had a great sense of humor and was an avid sportsman. He loved hunting, fishing, dancing, breaking in 4-H cattle, riding, westerns and cards. He was proud to be part of the Frankfort community. He is survived by his daughter Vickie, Hopkinton, MA; his brother Jack and his wife JoAnn Welch, Frankfort, KS; sister-in-law Barbara Welch, Pensacola, FL; brother-in-law Art Gruber, OK; sister-in-law Marge Daines, OR; brother-in-law Don Blair, IA; brother and sister-in-law Bob and Norma Blair, IA; Gary Blair, OR; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elmer and Inez (Jackson) Welch; his loving wife Doris; brother Jim Welch; sisters Dee Capps and Betty Gruber; and son-in-law Philip Portser. Bob will be missed by all who had the opportunity to know him. Memorials may be made to the Frankfort American Legion Post 181 and may be sent in care of the Padden Funeral Chapel. To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Robert E. Welch, please visit our flower store.


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