John Lewis (“Jack”) Welch, M.D., age 100, passed away peacefully on February 9, 2020, surrounded by his loving daughters. He was born May 24, 1919 in Bozeman, Montana to Howard and Harriet (Kinney) Welch. Growing up, John was a well rounded young man. He excelled in school, always striving to challenge himself. His fondly remembered youth included playing the trumpet as a member of the Boy Scouts and the Bobcat Band, helping out at his uncle's ranch in the Madison Valley, hiking, fly fishing, and skiing the snowy slopes that eventually became Big Sky. “We got out in the snow as soon as we could walk,” John recalled. His happiest memories included the family cabin called Lodgepole Lodge, built by his father in 1923 along the banks of the Gallatin River. It was an idyllic childhood.
John was educated at Montana State and Northwestern Medical School, Chicago, graduating just as the U.S. entered WWII. He served as a medical officer, U.S. Army Medical Corps, 1943-1946 in the South Pacific, primarily in New Caledonia and Fiji. After returning to the states he completed his medical residency in Portland and San Francisco, where he met and married Margaret Sharkey in 1952. They settled in Medford, Oregon, where he and Margaret raised their four children and John practiced Internal Medicine until retirement in 1986.
An ambitious cyclist and wine hobbyist, John enjoyed riding throughout the Rogue Valley and beyond, and tending to his vineyard on the slopes of Roxy Ann, perfecting the latest vintage of Jacklyman wine. Winemaking ended when John was in his 80s, but he continued to ride his bicycle whenever, wherever, and as far as possible. He also never lost his love of skiing, and moved briefly to Bend, Oregon in his early 90s in order to enjoy a few more good seasons on the snow.
In early 2017, at age 97, John moved from Medford to St. Helena, California to live closer to family. He could be seen riding his bright orange recumbent tricycle around the Napa Valley until just months before he died.
John was a curious, unassuming man, a caring physician, and a gentle, loving father. At the top of his list of important things in life: a good education, a healthy lifestyle, and protection of the environment. All those who knew him have been inspired by his positive outlook and life-loving spirit.
John was preceeded in death by his wife Margaret (1925-2003), his son John Howard Welch (1958-2005), his brother Col. Howard K. Welch, and a sister Katherine who died in infancy. He is survived by his three daughters: Barbara Tumanjan (Harry) of Boise, Idaho; Katherine Mathes (Matt) of Castle Pines, Colorado; and Celia Welch of St. Helena, California; six grandchildren: David Tumanjan (Maria), Christine Tumanjan (Danny George), Katherine Hollingsworth (Andy), Sarah Norell (Drew), John Masyczek, and Marie Masyczek; and four great-grandchildren.
At his request, no funeral will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to Providence Hospital, Medford; the Pacific Crest Trail Association; or the Oregon Historical Society.
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