Douglas Grant Welch

Douglas Grant Welch was born to Lillie Pearl (Wiley) and Richard Raymond Welch on February 5, 1928 on the east side of the north room of their hand-built stone and mud house, which was located 17 1/2 miles west of Campo in Baca County in southeastern Colorado. His father owned a sheep and cattle ranch, along with a few horses. He was the 4th of six children, and the first son.     His three older sisters prayed for a little brother everyday until they got Douglas. Then, some of them prayed that God would come get him and take him away because they thought he was the "meanest little devil they ever saw."

Douglas' education was sporadic at best, with his formal education ending at the 8th grade. When he did attend, it was to a one-room school house. Douglas could best be described as a self-made man who became highly educated by taking college extension courses, trade school and correspondence courses. He had an intense desire to learn and once having learned something -- "to do it the best that it could be done." Tasks thought impossible were his favorite challenges, such as the implementation of transistors and other solid state devices into aircraft and subsequently missiles and satellites.

Doug and Anne Reynolds met at the Palace Skating Rink in Long Beach, California on September 12, 1948 while Doug was a sailor in the United States Navy. They were married on July 28, 1950 at the Foursquare Church in South Gate, California and established their first home together in Maywood, California.

The young couple moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico in March 1951 when Douglas went to work for Northrop Aircraft Company, where he designed and flight tested instrumentation and telemetry of the nation's first intercontinental missile, test firing the prototype at The White Sands Proving Grounds, followed by deployment of the USAF B62 Pilotless Bombers at Presque, Isle, Maine.

The Welch family returned to Pico Rivera, California in Spring 1952, where their first five children were to be born.

In January 1961, Doug and Anne relocated to Lompoc, California when Doug left Northrop Aircraft to go to work for Lockheed Missile & Space on Vandenberg Air Force Base. Their youngest son Dale, was born in Lompoc.

In 1974, they moved to Friendswood, Texas where Doug was employed by Lockheed, and staffed to the NASA Space Shuttle. He was lead Project Engineer for the development of flight instrumentation and telemetry of the Space Shuttle. In addition, he was instrumental in the development of the national 911 system and then specifically development of emergency medical services for the Papago Indians in the state of New Mexico.

In 1985, the Welch family returned to Lompoc, California where Doug continued working for Lockheed on the Space Shuttle Program as lead Project Engineer at the Vandenberg landing site. Following cancellation of the Space Shuttle at Vandenberg, Doug was assigned to assist in qualification of the Star Wars Program for Lockheed Sunnyvale.

Douglas retired in 1990 from Lockheed Space Operations after a total of 39 years in Aerospace. He stayed active in Electronic consultation and implementation of the Western Regional Network, a state of the art communication dispatch service.

Douglas was a fervent Christian, accepting Jesus as his personal Saviour at the age of 17, and then ordained through the Full Gospel Holiness Church in 1953. He was an integral part of the construction of the Lompoc Assembly of God Church in the mid 1960s. His life was spent in faithful service to God and the support of the Church. Doug felt very strongly about the plight of the unborn child, and was an active participant in the Pregnancy Support Center of Lompoc.

Douglas Grant Welch passed away on June 1, 1996 at 7:07 p.m. at Lompoc Hospital at 68 years of age. He was surrounded by the love of his wife Anne; his sons David, Daniel, and Dale; his daughters Ellen and Linda; and his Grandsons Jim and Keith; and family friends. Doug was approximately the 80th person to be diagnosed with sarcoma of the pulmonary artery. His body is interred at the Lompoc Cemetery, but his soul lives in heaven, while the spirit of Doug's life lives on in his friends and family.

Douglas was married for 45 years to his wife, Ellen Anne Welch, who continues to reside in Lompoc, California. They have four sons: David Gerald Welch, Daniel Garrett Welch, Dale Glenn Welch, and Douglas Grant Welch, Jr. Their two daughters are Ellen Anne (Mellen) Rowley and Linda Pearl Jordan.

As Doug would say, he and Anne have eight "fine" Grandsons: James Stephen Mellen, Keith Grant Welch, David Aaron Welch, Joshua Welch, John Mark Welch (who joined his Grandfather in heaven on September 4, 1996), Joseph Gabriel Welch, Geoffrey Timothy Welch, and Matthew Ian Kirk Welch. They have four lovely Granddaughters: Hollie Cassandra Welch, Kelly Welch, April Welch, and Cheri Ann Welch.

Douglas was 4th in a family of six: Nellie Fry (deceased), Dale Roger Welch, Bessie Birt, Mary Kesler, Douglas, and Thelma Atwell.

     Douglas Grant Welch, Sr

              . . . . .you are truly missed!             

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