Christopher Thomas Welch was born on May 10, 1955 in Alamogordo, New Mexico and died unexpectedly on January 19, 2020 in Oak Hill, FL. Chris was the second of six children predeceased by Stanford and Rosemary Welch. Chris was raised and educated in Orlando.
Chris chose professions that satisfied both his passion for adventure and his desire to help others. In 1974 Chris began working for the Orlando Fire Department. During this time, he received the G. Calvin Bookhardt Award of Valor in recognition of exceptional performance above and beyond the call of duty at great personal risk. During a fire at the Howard Johnson’s Hotel, Chris rescued a guest from the 7th floor of the burning building. That guest survived the fire as a direct result of Chris’ heroic deeds. This selfless act ultimately ended his career as a firefighter in 1984.
However, Chris’ devotion to helping others continued. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from UCF in 1991, he began his second career serving the students of Oak HIll Elementary in Orlando. Chris was known for his ability to reach every student and genuinely made learning fun. He was loved, respected and admired by all who knew and worked alongside him for almost three decades. During this time he was awarded Teacher of the Year on two separate occasions, retiring in 2017.
Chris lived his life unapologetically, authentic to his core and had an ability to immediately connect with anyone he met. It was not often that you would find Chris sitting idly, he had a love for nature and knowledge and was always outdoors hunting, fishing, boating, riding his Harley, or hopping in his Jeep cruising two-track roads to see what he could find. He always had “good story” to tell and loved to share. Chris never asked for much from life, he was a happy and contented man; not in any way materialistic, he preferred “experiences” to “things”.
His love for the outdoors was strong, but what gave him the most pleasure was spending time with his family. His children and grandchildren brought him great joy. Choppy, as the grandkids called him, never missed an opportunity to spend time with them.
Many will miss him, leaving an irreplaceable void in the lives he touched, especially his beloved wife, Pam. Pam and Chris were inseparable, there for each other’s darkest and brightest moments. They were each other’s non-judgmental go-to for anything very silly or serious. Chris loved Pam unconditionally; she was often on his mind and always in his heart. They genuinely adored one another and loved being together, always smiling and laughing even when completing the most mundane tasks.
In addition to his wife Pamela Mulkern Welch, he is survived by his children and their spouses Ryan (Susan) Welch, Nathan (Kristin) Welch, Andrew (Megan) Welch and Andrea (Phil) White, and his grandchildren Cooper (11), Maddie (11), Ansley (9), Avery (9), Michael (9), Harper (7) and Nicholas (7), and his siblings Brett Welch and his wife, Ellen, Kirk Welch, Shawn Welch, Karen Murphy and Dean Welch.
Services for Chris Welch will take place Sunday January 26th at Baldwin Brothers Funeral and Cremation Society 1 North Causeway New Smyrna Beach Viewing Hours 12:00-2:00; Celebration of Life 2:00
Reception to follow at The Crow’s Nest 203 S Atlantic Avenue New Smyrna Beach In lieu of flowers please donate to the Orlando Firefighters Benevolent Fund at https://www.gofundme.com/f/rememberingchriswelch?fbclid=IwAR0e2-xZBMIPAnnFLadpwOIekioUnSV9y5U4sfFrItcV0d7fwiZcjFds_0k