Rock n’ Roll, English football, Mini Coopers, spicy Indian food are just some of the things that come to mind in describing Mike and who he was.
Family always came first for this only son of two schoolteachers. Born in Stoke on Trent, England, in June of 1939, Mike excelled at everything he tried. Whether it was academics, sport, even scouting, he was the leader. He was known for never giving up. He earned top marks at Cambridge University where he earned his bachelor and masters degrees and then again at the University of London where he received his PhD in chemistry. After moving to America in 1965 to pursue a career as a chemist, he made a point to travel home and visit his mother whenever he could, often bringing his children. As a single parent raising two kids, he attended every sporting event (coaching many of them) or school concert that he was able to make. Colin and Lesley learned a lot by watching their dad succeed over the years and are two very successful adults and caring parents in their own right today, something Mike was immensely proud to witness.
He loved the beach. His first visit to Cornwall was when he was seven weeks old. He returned many times; even as recently as last summer with his son Colin and his family. He also went with Lesley and her family to Hawaii each spring. He kept up with his five grandkids as much as he could; again, attending any event he was free to go to. He dressed up with his granddaughters at Halloween and even donned an Elmo costume for one of the girl’s birthdays!
He travelled the world, visiting the Wall of China, the Australian rainforests, Roman ruins in France, Italy and England. He visited countless countries including Japan and Isreal. His passport bulged with pages. However, despite this wanderlust, he stayed faithful to his adopted city of St. Louis and his second home, Washington University, for over 45 years.
Mike was fun. He was eager to learn anything new, eager to meet new people all the while keeping up with the dozens and dozens of friends he had around the world. He loved making connections with people and he loved connecting people when it would work to their benefit. He faced many challenges physically over the years, but never let them define him. It was his perseverance, curiosity and sheer joy of life that kept him with us and gave us the time we had with him. The world is a better place having had Mike Welch in it.