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John Joseph Welch

1/3/11John Joseph Welch
From the Fairbanks Daily News Miner

John Joseph Welch passed away Dec. 24, 2010, at his home in Two Rivers.

John was born in New Haven, Conn., and grew up in Pembroke, Mass. John was the youngest son of Edward and Pearl Welch.

John's love of the wilderness started at age 10 when he crafted a pair of snowshoes out of white ash shoots and carefully selected leather strips from the Deerskin Trading Post. After a stint in the Marine Corps and a few years driving a cement mixer in the Boston area for the Big Dig, John decided he preferred solitude and a connection to the outdoors over city living and moved to Jackson Hole, Wyo. He parlayed his love of fly fishing into a career as professional fly fishing guide in Jackson Hole, and spent several years exploring the beauty of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and fly fishing along the Snake and Columbia rivers catching brown, brook, rainbow and lake trout. He spent his winters learning to love sled dogs and racing. This love eventually took him to Alaska.

John was a member of Teamsters Local 959, working on construction projects across Alaska, including above the Arctic Circle. The weekend before his death he competed in the Sheep Mountain 150, a qualifying race for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

John will be remembered for his thirst for adventure, his respect for and love of nature, his insatiable curiosity, and his countless friends who loved and respected him for his humor, intelligence and loyalty.

John was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by Robert and Barbara Welch and their children John, Brittany and Michael of Medfield, Mass., and Kenneth and Diane Welch and their daughter Lindsay, of San Francisco; and a host of relatives and friends from all over the world.

A private celebration of John's life will be held for family and friends at a later date. For those who would like to make a donation in John's name, please support Second Chance League at www.secondchanceleague.org/, a group of Fairbanks mushers focused on finding permanent homes for sled dogs.

Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.

Visit Guest Book

Published in Daily News-Miner on December 30, 2010


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