Bob Welsh was a friend of mine and one of the most unique people I have ever known. Often described as being "crusty" or a "curmudgeon," both of which he was, he also was one of the most delightful, fiercely independent individuals I have ever known. And I only really knew him in one aspect of his life, his love and interest in theatre. He was a phenomenal performer as is his wife Gloria Maxwell with whom I have shared the stage in 2 productions. He was an unselfish actor who could play comic and serious roles equally well. He had an unbelievable sense of timing on stage.
Cancer had taken over Bob's body and life. He fought it valiantly for many years but finally decided several months ago that enough-was-enough and decided that there would be no more treatments. I last saw him a couple of months ago along with fellow old f—t actors Ron Rudolph and John Brigante. Bob was obviously very sick and we knew that his remaining time with us was very short. But he was the gracious host and raconteur, telling wonderful, funny, theatrical stories with that beautiful twinkle in his eyes. As usual, he regaled us with tales of his life along the way. I don't know if our visit helped Bob, but he sure cheered us up. He was going to leave this life exactly as he lived it; on his own terms when he was ready. His last breaths were taken on December 6 with close family at his side.
At a memorial yesterday, I learned about parts of Bob's life about which I knew little. His role as a nurturing father who made sure his 4 kids would grow up as self-sufficient thinkers. His love of political debate especially with those, like me, whose views were so different from his. His long battle with the IRS over the payment of income taxes. His achievement as a Life Master in Bridge. His acceptance of all people at face value, never looking for ulterior motives. His genuine love of people. Listening to the comments of his family and friends, I wished that I had known him for more than just the past decade.
A friend is gone but will not be forgotten. As I sit here thinking of Bob, I can hear his distinctive voice starting yet another story, "Let me tell you about the time. . . " Bob Welsh already is missed by all of us who knew him.