Funeral services for Johnny Welch, 84, of Portales will be held at 10:00 AM, Mon., April 10, 2023 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Portales with Rev. Wesley McAfee officiating. The family will receive guests at the funeral home from 6 to 8 PM, Sat., April 8, 2023. Burial will be in the Portales Cemetery with David Welch, Ron Welch, Bubby Welch, Edward Vaughan, Ronnie Vaughan, Jimmy Dale Ward, Bud Vaughan, Billy Vaughan, James Vaughan, Kasey Vaughan and Rance Inge serving as pallbearers. All of the former Welch Trucking Inc drivers and his many long-time friends will serve as honorary pallbearers. Those desiring to make memorial contributions may send them to GoodLife Senior Living, 2013 W 18th St, Portales, NM 88130. The family would like to thank the staff and management of GoodLife and Interim Hospice for the excellent care and attention they gave Johnny.
Johnny Ray Welch was born June 10, 1938 in the Bethel community to the home of Mexie Sue (Davis) and James Hunter Welch, and passed from this life on Monday evening, April 3, 2023 at Good Life Senior Living in Portales, where he was one of the very first residents. Johnny’s mother died when he was ten years old, and his older sister, Faye, helped in his rearing. Johnny was baptized as a teenager at the Bethel Baptist Church along with his brother, Bill.
Johnny began driving trucks at the age of 16, and drove at various times during his career. When he finally drove for the last time in 2012, he was able to say that he had never had a driving accident. Johnny and some of his brothers were driving trucks independently until 1968, when they formed Welch Brothers Trucking. They built their building to house their offices in 1969. At one time they had 33 trucks on the road. He and his brother Bill sold the business to their sons in 2004, at which time WTI was formed.
On Feb. 9, 1962 in Clovis, Johnny married the love of his life, Frances Irene Vaughan. He and Fran, as she was better known, enjoyed their time in a couples bowling league at the CUB on Eastern’s campus. Through the years he had gone on many deer hunting and fishing trips with his family and friends. In addition to driving trucks, Johnny did some farming, and had the interesting hobby of owning chariot racing mules. In 2019 he, along with his brother Bill and their wives were chosen as Roosevelt County Pioneers of the Year. Until the spring of 2020, when CoVid19 closed the restaurants, Johnny and his brother, Bill, would go to the coffee shops every afternoon to see their friends and catch up on local news.
Johnny is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Jeff and Doris Welch of Portales and Kevin and Megan Welch of Frederick, CO and a daughter and son-in-law, Angie and Brant Moore of Canyon, TX; four grandchildren, Cooper Brantley, Paxton Brady, Hudson Hunter and Evelyn Rose; a sister, Faye Cook of Diamond Springs, CA; along with a number of other family members. He was preceded in death by both of his parents, as well as five brothers, Wayne, Joe, W. D. “Shorty”, Jim and Bill and three sisters, Betty, Mary and Jamie, a granddaughter, Addison Jade Welch, and by his beloved wife, Fran, who died July 1, 2014 after more than 52 years of marriage.
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