AUBURN – Edward E. Welch, 92, passed away peacefully on Oct. 12, at Clover Manor surrounded by his loving family.

He was born in Lewiston on Aug. 17, 1912, the son of Harry and Myrta Skillin Welch. He lost his hearing at age 12, and later attended the old Maine School for the Deaf in Portland. This marked the beginning of his lifelong devotion to serving the deaf community.

He married Emily T. Morrell on July 28, 1942. Together they raised eight children. His beloved “Honey” passed away on Feb. 9, 1976. On June 24, 1978, he married Catherine Getchell. For many years they were affiliated with the Evangelical Baptist Church for the Deaf in Portland. Their companionship lasted until her death on May 10, 2000.

At a time when deafness was considered a major handicap, he refused to view it as such.

He supported his large family by working in the local shoeshops including 28 years at Knapp Bros.

His avocation was working with the deaf and no demand was too great for him to shoulder.

He was instrumental in the creation of Baxter School for the Deaf and worked to push legislation that advanced opportunities for the deaf. His life of service included: Past Pres. Maine Mission for the Deaf; Assoc. of the Deaf; New England Gallaudet Assoc of the Deaf.

Gubernatorial appointments included: Governor’s Advisory Comm. for Baxter School; Board of Visitors for Baxter School; Policy Review Board of Baxter School; Public trust Advisory Board; Governor’s Trust Advisory Board; Governor’s Comm. on Employment of People with Disabilities; Governor’s Comm. on Employment of the Handicapped; Citizens Advisory Board of the Bureau of Rehabilitation. Prestigious awards included: The Clifton F. Rodgers Award for Outstanding Service to the Deaf Community and National Assoc. of the Deaf Golden Hand Award.

He was a friend to governors and at times an irritant to legislators who were slow to act.

But, always he was loved and admired by all who knew him.

He is survived by a sister, Eleanor Landry, of Griswold, Conn.; three sons, Richard and wife, Norma, of Apple Valley, Calif., Ernest and wife, Georgette, of Chaplin, Conn., and Edwin and wife, Velvet, of Columbia, Conn.; four daughters, Mrs. Joyce Bickford, of Auburn, Bertha Hansen and husband, James, of Woodville, Starr Sward and husband, Carl, of South Windham, Conn., and Pamela Cooper and husband Herbert, of Minot; 38 grandchildren; 68 great-grandchildren; and 27 great-great-grandchildren; two nephews; and a niece.

He was predeceased by a son, Russell Morrell, a granddaughter, Sharon Bickford, and a son-in-law, Walter Bickford. The family extends a special thank you to his “Clover Family” and to the entire staff of Clover Manor.

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