A History of
Ellen Anne (Reynolds) Welch
July 23, 1931 to April 10, 2006
One of the finest former residents of Lompoc graduated to glory on April 10, 2006 in Lancaster, California.
Ellen Anne (Reynolds) Welch was born in Shelbyville Tennessee on July 23, 1931 to Pearl (Johnson) and Amzira Reynolds. The Reynolds family moved to California when Ellen Anne was 13 years old in August 1944. She had one brother, Henry Johnson Reynolds and one sister, Mary Alda Ferguson. Ellen Anne graduated from Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California in 1949.
Doug and Ellen Anne were married in the Foursquare Church in South Gate, California on July 28, 1950 and shared their lives together for 46 years until Doug’s death in June 1996.
Doug loved to tell of their first meeting in a roller skating rink when he looked across the room and saw “the most beautiful girl in the world.” He didn’t think of asking her to skate as he was sure she would refuse him. But then to his amazement, when it was the “girl’s” chance to invite a boy to skate, Ellen Anne crossed the room to choose him as her partner. Doug never lost his sense of awe that Ellen Anne picked him for her partner in life.
The young couple’s first married home was in Maywood, California; however, they soon 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.
Ellen Anne missed her family dearly and the Welch family returned to California, moving to Pico Rivera in spring 1952 in their first home purchased together. Their first born son Douglas Welch Jr. was born on June 25, 1953, followed by Ellen (1955), Linda (1956), David (1957) and Daniel (1960).
In January 1961, Doug left Northrop Aircraft to go to work for Lockheed Missile & Space on Vandenberg Air Force Base. Ellen Anne and the children joined Doug in February 1961 as soon as they could locate a home in Lompoc, California in the quickly growing boom of the aerospace industry. Dale, the youngest son, was born in Lompoc in 1964.
The Welch family flourished in Lompoc, active in the community in sports, church, school and children’s clubs until February 1973 when they moved to Simi Valley. They relocated to Friendswood, Texas a year and a half later when Doug’s employer Lockheed staffed him to the NASA Space Shuttle where 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 the development of emergency medical services for the Papago Indians in the state of New Mexico.)
In 1985, the Welch family returned to what they considered their hometown: Lompoc, California. Doug continued working for Lockheed on the Space Shuttle Program as lead Project Engineer at the Vandenberg landing site (which unfortunately would eventually be scuttled.).
While her husband Doug was working long hours and following the ups and downs of the aerospace industry, Ellen Anne quietly stood at her husband’s side, taking in stride the required moves and transitions, while providing a welcoming sight of a hearty dinner every evening and a warm home to her husband and children. Doug would often smile and say “I’m the head of the household, but Ellen Anne is the neck that turns the head.”
Ellen Anne’s Christian faith was paramount, having attended church her entire life. Although she did not shout her Christianity from the street corner, she lived it. Her greatest gift to her church was her constant efforts to ensure that the nursery of her church was clean, well-stocked and staffed (usually by herself). She served for many years as the volunteer manager of the nursery program for the First Assembly of God Church in Lompoc. She was never more comfortable than with an infant or toddler to care for. It could best be said that Ellen Anne was a Mom who loved everybody’s children.
The support of pregnant mothers and the unborn was a special concern of Ellen Anne’s. In 1930 -- a time when abortion was unheard of -- her mother Pearl was advised that she must have an abortion in order to save her life. The three required doctors for a legal abortion were ready to sign, but Pearl averred that no one was going to “kill any baby of mine.” The pregnancy and birth were especially hard on Pearl, but both survived. Ellen Anne gave generously to the Lompoc Pregnancy Support Center… and loved to shop the sales to obtain the sweetest outfits for the little ones she helped save.
Generosity of spirit and deed was an integral part of Ellen Anne’s life. In her older years, people would often say that she should go on a cruise or purchase some luxury item for herself, but Ellen Anne would listen politely and then continue her course of generosity to her charities, her children and grandchildren, ensuring that her loved ones were taken care of as best she could provide.
Ellen Anne greatly appreciated her privilege as a citizen of the United States of America. She served the community and her country for many years as an election volunteer for Santa Barbara County.
Her eldest daughter, Ellen wrote: “I remember as a child years when Momma bought nothing for herself, saving her funds to buy that special outfit for one of her six children. Every Easter she would insure that the girls were outfitted in a new dress and bonnet while the boys strutted about in their suit and ties. Christmas was an event to remember when the tree was buried under the great pile of presents, “double-wrapped” so the kids’ surprise wouldn’t be spoiled by early peeking. In many ways, Mom was a shy person, but when she believed that her family was being slighted or a wrong was being committed, she could roar like a lion. I thought Momma was amazing. She could do so many things well -- whether it was her great cooking, baking, arts & crafts, coaching one of her children’s sports teams, or leading a campfire girl group. Best of all… Momma loved her children. My Momma may not have been a perfect person, but she was definitely my perfect mother.”
Daughter Linda remembers a time “when all of us children were sick (mumps or chicken pox) along with Dad, too. Mom piled padding and blankets in the dining room and lined us all up where she could take care of us all together. Mom’s whole life was devoted to her children, grandchildren and relationship with the Lord.”
Ellen Anne continued to make her home in Lompoc until June of 2004 when the complications of a stroke she suffered in February 2004 resulted in failing health. Her children induced her to go to the home of her daughter, Mrs. Linda Jordan in Palmdale, California, where she received the most loving care possible. There she closed her eyes on April 10, 2006.
Ellen Anne loved to reminisce about a childhood memory, an anecdote of one of her children or grandchildren, or the events of family and friends’ lives. At times her children would tire of her stories, but after her stroke, they would often comment how much they wished they could “hear one of Mom’s stories just one more time.”
Ellen Anne taught her children many things -- with one of the highest -- how to endure through untenable adversity. After her stroke, Ellen Anne had many challenges: In spite of excruciating pain, paralysis on her right side, inability to speak but a half-dozen words, Ellen Anne struggled on. She took one step at a time, continuing to put one foot in front of the other -- knowing the next step might mean a fall. But she endeavoured to live each day with the life God granted her.
Ellen Anne Welch was preceded in death by her husband Douglas Welch (1996), her mother Pearl Cooper, her father Amzira Reynolds, her sister Mary Alda Ferguson, her brother Henry Reynolds and her Grandson John Mark Welch (1996). Forever the mother of Douglas Welch Jr. (Chowchilla, CA), Ellen Anne Rowley (Hobbs, NM), Linda Jordan (Palmdale, CA), David Welch (Lompoc, CA), Daniel Welch (Roseville, CA), Dale Welch (Lompoc, CA), 18 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, along with too numerous to mention in-laws, cousins, nephews, nieces and friends.
Friends and family may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Starbuck-Lind Mortuary at 123 North A Street in Lompoc, where the services will be held in their chapel at 10:00 a.m. with internment at Lompoc Cemetery immediately following with her Pastor Kirk Langer officiating.
Mom, we love you. We miss you. Keep busy in heaven.
Memorials may be made to:
Lompoc Pregnancy Support Center
601 East Ocean Avenue, Suite 6
P.O. Box 2353
Lompoc, CA 93438-2353