John B. Welch [1947-2013]; Perrysburg leader published 4 weeklies

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  • Welch

    John B. Welch, who succeeded his father as publisher of family-owned weekly Toledo-area newspapers and was a leader in Perrysburg civic and service groups, died Tuesday in Flower Hospital. He was 66.

    Mr. Welch of Perrysburg Township had cancer, and he remained active in his business and community.

    “He would be tired, but he was out and about,” his wife, Sally, said. He celebrated his birthday last month among 180 people attending a kickoff party for an American Cancer Society event at Carranor Hunt and Polo Club.

    Mr. Welch was publisher, general manager, and vice president of Welch Publishing Co., formed after the 1969 purchase by his late father, Robert Welch, of the newspaper company where the elder Mr. Welch worked since 1947. The company’s publications include the Perrysburg Messenger Journal; Rossford Record Journal; Holland-Springfield Journal, and Point and Shoreland Journal.

    “He was fair and very giving,” said Deb Buker, editor the last decade of the Perrysburg Messenger Journal. “He loved his employees. They were more family than employees.

    “He was very community-oriented. That is the key to the four papers,” she said. “He was very involved with everything in Perrysburg.”

    Even before his father was owner, he worked summers at the Perrysburg paper. He learned to set type and run the presses and, when he went to work at the Albany, Ga., Herald, “they marveled at how much he knew,” his wife said.

    He returned home to help the family, and production remained a specialty. “If there ever was a problem, it was his job to fix it,” his wife said. “He never really got out of production. He just accumulated another job title.”

    Most of the family has worked for the family business — his wife; his daughters. His brother, Matt, is a Welch Publishing manager. His son Chet heads information technology; his son Adam is printing manager.

    “He was happy that they wanted to go into the business and proud of that and [their] learning his trade,” his wife said.

    He was a former adjunct faculty member at Owens Community College, where his wife is a professor of commercial art, and he taught the printing processes he knew so well. He also was on advisory boards for Owens and for what is now Penta Career Center.

    Mr. Welch was chairman of the Perrysburg Rotary Service Foundation and was a former president of the Rotary Club of Perrysburg. He was a former Rotary district assistant governor and a former Paul Harris Fellow.

    Born Aug. 24, 1947, to Dorothy and Robert Welch, he was a graduate of Anthony Wayne High School. He was a veteran of the Navy and the Naval Reserve. He attended Western Reserve University and Bowling Green State University.

    He was a member and served on the parish council at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Stony Ridge.

    He was a licensed Great Lakes captain and had his own charter fishing boat. He named it “Fishin’ Edition,” so that he could say he was working on the Fishin’ Edition, said Jack Sculfort, a friend and Rotary Club compatriot.

    Surviving are his wife, Sally, whom he married May 25, 1973; sons, Chester B. “Chet” and Adam M.; daughters, Alissa Ingram and Destiny Pisula; mother, Dorothy Welch; brothers, Dr. Robert and Matt Welch, and seven grandchildren.

    Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in St. John’s Lutheran Church, Stony Ridge, where the family will receive friends after 9:30 a.m. Arrangements are by the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg. The family suggests tributes to the Hickman Cancer Center at Flower Hospital, Sylvania, or the church.

    Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.