Tommy Welch

July 7, 1939 — June 13, 2021

Tommy Welch

Chief Master Sergeant Tommy Rhea Welch, 81 passed away Sunday, June 13, 2021.  He was born on July 7, 1939 in McRae, AR.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Lois Welch, his two wives, Linda Jo Wisdom Welch and Judy Pruitt Welch and his sister, Peggy Welch Finley.  He was a lifelong member of Beebe Church of Christ.

He is survived by his daughters, LeAnn Jackson, Christy (Kerry) Campbell, Lorrie (Tom) Belew, Carrie (Jeff) Hankins and Cathy (Matt) McClure; his 12 grandchildren, Josh, Jill, Jolie, Leigh, Kyle, Clint, Carly, Reid, Luke, Sarah, Eli and Ava; great grandchildren, Campbell, Harper and Nora; and his three sisters, Darla Smith, Mary Jo Richardson and Sandy Anello.

After a 40 year career in the Air Force and Arkansas Air National Guard, Tommy retired and enjoyed his family and friends around his home in the large community of Pigeye.  He loved woodworking, mowing his yard (and the yards of others), riding his John Deere tractor for no real reason, raising a garden, eating out and smoking meat.

He loved people and always had a piece of knowledge to share because he knew whoever was standing there really needed it.  Tommy was a pretty straight shooter and pulled the trigger quite freely.  It’s as if he always had a lecture in his brain and it needed to be unleashed!

The best way to sum up Tommy, I believe, is a piece written about him from a lifelong school friend. . .

She wrote:

My own lack of confidence growing up might have had an influence on my watching other people more closely.  There were those I held in such high regard that they couldn’t possibly fall below my expectations.  One guy, in particular, would bounce down the halls of Beebe High School, so full of life and with a smile from ear to ear.  What impressed me was that he had no favorites.  He even treated me as if I was the only one who mattered at that moment.  He surely had a hidden secret.  Tommy, I respected you then and I respect you now.  When I saw you bow and bless our meal at the class reunion recently, I couldn’t help but get teary-eyed, for I think you revealed your secret.

Tommy was loved by many and a friend to all.  The world is now a little dimmer, and heaven is a bit brighter.

Visitation will be 6:00-8:00 p.m. Tuesday at Beebe Church of Christ.  Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the church, with burial at Antioch Cemetery.  Arrangements by Smith-Westbrook Funeral Home.  www.smithfamilycares.com

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