Kenneth R. Welch, age 59, of Dennison, Magistrate for the Tuscarawas County Southern District Court, passed away Sunday after a short illness.
A son of the late LeRoy and Inez (Caputo) Welch, Ken was born at Steubenville, O., on Oct. 13, 1950.
Ken graduated from Jefferson Union High School at Richmond, O., in 1969, he and later attended West Liberty State College, graduating in 1973 with a degree in chemistry.
He worked for five years as a chemist with B.F. Goodrich at Akron and then chose to attend the University of Akron Law School, where he graduated with distinction.
He began his legal career at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services with now Judge Edward E. O'Farrell and now Magistrate David Worth.
In 1980, he was chosen as the Director of the Tuscarawas-Carroll County Joint Public Defenders Office, supervising a number of attorneys and defending criminal cases. Throughout that tenure, he handled thousands of criminal cases and numerous high-profile murder cases. He then joined Judge Hudson Hillyer and Attorney Brad Hillyer as a partner creating the law firm of Connolly, Hillyer & Welch at Uhrichsville, where he practiced with distinction for more than 20 years.
He served as the solicitor for the Village of Dennison for more than six years and at the time of his death was serving as the legal director for the Village of Stone Creek, a position he had held for more than 25 years. Additionally, he had previously served the villages of Scio, Barnhill and Dellroy.
After the unexpected death of William McLane in 2006, he was asked by now Judge Brad Hillyer to assume the Magistrate's position at Southern District Court at Uhrichsville. He was an exceptional scholar of the law and a true gentleman in every sense of the word. All attorneys who had the privilege of practicing in front of him were treated with the utmost dignity and respect. He will be seriously missed by the legal community.
Ken was a member of the American Bar Assn., Ohio State Bar Assn. and the Tuscarawas County Bar Assn., where he served as an officer for a number of years.
He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Claymont Public Library and the former president of the Board of Trustees of the Tuscarawas County Public Defender's Office. He served also as a member of the Tuscarawas County Law Library. For the past six years, Ken volunteered his time as a legal advisor to the Claymont Mock Trial team.
He was a loving husband and father who enjoyed hiking, literature, astronomy and spending quality time with his family that includes his wife of 24 years, Becky, a retired teacher from the Fairless School District; daughter, Megan (Randy) Nemerson, of Las Vegas; son, Dylan, a graduate student at Walsh University; and daughter, Lauren, a pre-med student at The Ohio State University and two grandsons, Carter and Reece Nemerson.
A sister, Patty (Bill) Wineman of Steubenville and a sister-in-law, Donita Welch complete the family.
In addition to his parents, Ken was preceded in death by a brother, Terry Welch.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 in the Linn-Hert-Geib Funeral Home & Crematory at New Philadelphia. Friends will celebrate Ken's life in the funeral home's chapel on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. Private burial will take place in the Foxfield Preserve at Wilmot, O.
Those unable to attend may send the family personal condolences by signing the online guest registry located on the funeral home's Web site.
The family requests memorial contributions in Ken's name be directed to the Dennison Library, 15 N. 4th St., Dennison, O. 44621, and Cats 'N' Us Shelter, 829 Union Ave., Dover, O. 44622.
Published in The Times Reporter on Nov. 17, 2009