Family and friends will salute the life of Richard A. Welke May 11 at one of the World War II veteran’s favorite places, the Welcome Home Veterans Living Military Museum at Richards Coffee Shop.
Welke, of Mooresville, died April 29 at age 94. He fought on the front lines in France and Germany from 1943 to 1946 with the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Division, 399th Regiment Company.
Among his military honors were the Combat Infantry Badge and two Bronze Stars for bravery. He also was presented with the Legion of Honor medal, France’s highest honor for foreign soldiers.
Welke was born Jan. 24, 1925, in Elmhurst, N.Y. – delivered by his grandmother at home during a total eclipse of the sun, according to his obituary. He attended high school in Highland Falls, N.Y., and earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from New York University.
He married Marilyn Meslin in 1950 and the couple raised their family in Wyckoff, N.J., from 1953 to 1984.
Welke owned a steel deck business, General Deck Inc. He was a member of the Lions Club and a 65-year member of the Masonic Lodge of Wyckoff, N.J.
The Welkes moved in 1984 to Palm Harbor, Fla., where they lived until Marilyn’s death in 1998. Welke spent his last 21 years in Mooresville.
He was active in the local Exchange Club, a member of Broad Street United Methodist Church, worked for the law firm of Homesley, Goodman and Wingo for many years, and was a regular at Richard’s.
In 2018 he was inducted into the N.C. Military Veterans Hall of Fame in Charlotte.
Welke’s son, Robert A. Welke, died in 1996. His daughter, Carolyn Underwood, lives in Mooresville with her husband, Robert Underwood. His four surviving granddaughters are, Valentene P. Reily of Irvine, Calif., Elizabeth (Welke) Lindsey, Carley Welke and Hayley Welke.
“He would do anything for anyone,” his obituary said. “His kindness was contagious. He often said, ‘A stranger is only a friend I haven’t met yet.’”
Welke will be honored at Richard’s on May 11 at 2 p.m.
“No need for formality, come as you are,” the obituary said “This is a celebration of his life, and a well lived life it was.