James T. Welch was born Aug. 6, 1928, in Great Barrington to James and Louise (Benedict) Welch. He attended local schools and, upon completion of high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. On July 6, 1950, while stationed near Newport, Rhode Island, he assisted in rescuing a young girl from drowning. For this event, he was awarded the Silver Life Saving Medal for heroic action from the secretary of the treasury. After his honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, Jim returned to Great Barrington and was employed by the New England Electric System (now National Grid), remaining there as the store’s manager for 35 years and retiring in 1989.
On Aug. 1, 1959, he married Mary Alice Ward. They moved to Sheffield in 1961 where they raised their family: Jim Jr., Mary Ellen and Katherine. Mary Ellen and Jim Jr. were stricken with cancer and passed away in 1988 and 1998 respectively. Katherine Turner lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island with her husband, John, and daughter, Sarah.
Jim was an active member of Our Lady of the Valley Church in Sheffield, especially under Rev. Francis Sullivan and Rev. Frederick Heberle. For 25 years he was responsible for the counting and recording of the Sunday collections. Jim enjoyed playing golf as a member of both the Egremont Country Club and Wyantenuck Country Club. His golfing partner in the men’s league was his son, Jim Jr. They enjoyed sports together and traveled to Yankee Stadium as well as to other sports venues. Jim and Mary Alice travelled each March to Jekyll Island, Georgia, to enjoy golfing. Jim was a considerate, kind person who thoroughly enjoyed visits from his granddaughter, Sarah, and he had a soft spot for John and Katherine’s pets. Jim will be greatly missed.
Funeral services for James T. Welch will be held Saturday, March 24, at 11 a.m. with a Liturgy of Christian Burial at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Sheffield. Burial will follow in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Great Barrington. The family will receive friends Saturday, March 24, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the BIRCHES-ROY FUNERAL HOME, 33 South St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in James’ memory may be made to either the Mary Ellen Welch Memorial Scholarship or the Berkshire Rattlers Hockey Program in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be made through birchesroyfuneralservices.com.