Richard Laurence Westlake Welch
Departed December 14, 2022 in Indialantic, Florida
Richard Laurence Westlake Welch passed away on December 14, 2022, at age 71 due to kidney cancer. Rick’s determination to live a full and active life along with the excellent care of his physicians limited the impact of his cancer for ten years. Over those years he worked, traveled, and lived to the fullest alongside his wife Diane, their seven children, and their growing
He passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family, watching a favorite Hallmark movie. Rick was born in Gainesville, Florida. During his childhood, he moved with his parents and sisters first to Iowa and then to San Diego. His family ultimately settled in Satellite Beach, Florida where he attended Junior High and High School. Rick was the first triple major at the University of South Florida (USF) receiving bachelor’s degrees in History, Classics, and Mathematics. He continued his studies at USF, earning a Ph.D. in Mathematics. He and his first wife, Cathy, lived in Virginia during their early marriage. While in Virginia, Rick worked as an analyst for the CIA. Rick and Cathy returned to Florida to be closer to family after the birth of their first son Stephen. Their second son David and first daughter Kate were born in Florida. They adopted their second daughter Therese from El Salvador soon after. Cathy passed in 1997 after an extended illness.
In 1998, Rick married Diane and embraced her three children JP, Tom, and Hope as his own. Rick had a distinguished career in the aerospace industry with over 40 years of experience as a statistician and applied mathematician before retiring in 2021 from Northrop Grumman. Career highlights included multiple published papers receiving notoriety at the CMMI Technology conference, achieving the title of Northrop Grumman Fellow for data analytics, and serving 35 years as an adjunct professor of Systems Engineering and Operations Research at Florida Institute of Technology. While he was respected for his work, Rick was more admired for the relationships he built and the impact he had on the lives of those he worked with and mentored. In addition to his career, Rick was a devoted longtime volunteer of the Boy Scouts of America, guiding both his sons through the rank of Eagle Scout, continuing his volunteering afterward, and eventually volunteering with his grandsons. He was a soccer coach for his children and sustained his love of soccer into this year’s season as a referee for the local recreational league.
Over the past weeks, he enjoyed following the World Cup with his family. Rick was a formidable singer and sang in the choir at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the Brevard Community Chorus. Rick loved traveling, football, camping, and miniature wargaming. Traveling was beloved whether on the auto train to DC, cruising to the Bahamas, or flying to Europe or New Zealand. Though a travel bug, he also found joy in being in his hometown with family, eating at local restaurants, and sipping fine whiskey. Rick was a lifelong wargamer hosting games with his local club at his home and regularly attending the semi-annual conventions put on by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society-South. He passed his passion for wargaming to his sons, David and Stephen, and was already introducing several of his grandchildren to the hobby.
Rick was proud of his Welsh, Ukrainian and Canadian heritages. Above all, he was immensely proud of his children. Rick was a wonderful father and stepfather. He instilled in each child confidence and certainty that Rick trusted and believed in them. He was a devoted son, husband, brother, uncle, and grandfather. His brilliance was profound, and he shared it joyfully. Rick was always ready with an interesting fact on almost any topic and if you had a question, Rick knew the answer.
Rick was predeceased by his first wife, Cathy, his daughter, Therese, and his parents, Philip and Nancy. He is survived by his second wife Diane; children Stephen Welch (Amanda), David Welch, Kate Churcher (Jason), JP Morrill (Taleese), Tom Morrill (Allie) and, Hope Nesdill (Tom); seven grandchildren James, Cai, Ziah, Ethan, Benji, Grant, and Emma; his sisters Deirdre Holden, Stephanie Males (Jim) and Beckie Munsell (Bill); and nieces Miriam Achour, Muna Wagner (Rick), Lisa Scharmann (Kurt) and Lillia Munsell; and nephew Alex Achour (Loryn).
A memorial service will be held at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Saturday, January 21st, 2023, at 2 PM.
In lieu of flowers, please, make donations to Movember to support men’s health and wear your mustache in November! Or to the Kidney Cancer Association: