Basil C. “Sonny” Welch II

By | December 5, 2017 1:56 pm

Born on Aug. 31, 1942, in a coal mining camp at Fork Mountain, Tennessee, to Basil C. Welch and Lena Carter Welch, Basil C. “Sonny” Welch passed away Nov. 29, 2017.

He grew up in White County, in Sparta. Upon graduating from White County High School, he moved to Nashville to attend the Southern Academy of Clinical Technology where he met his future wife, Shirley Wyatt. Upon graduating, he accepted a position at Clarksville Memorial Hospital for one year before moving back to Nashville to join the American Red Cross, in 1963, specializing in blood banking.

Mr. Welch held the positions of chief technologist for the next 14 years, during which time he served two years in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. In 1977, he was promoted to director of product management, at the Red Cross, ensuring a steady supply of blood products and services to 108 hospitals in a four-state area, a responsibility that he took seriously and enjoyed very much.

He retired from the American Red Cross as the executive director of marketing and customer relations, at age 53. He worked briefly for one year with Southeastern Marine, in Hendersonville before joining Forensic Medical Management Services, as the chief operations officer. At Forensic Medical, he assisted in development of the company, providing medical examiner services to most of Tennessee. He held this position until retiring again at age 65.

During his early years after normal working hours, he also ran the emergency room stat lab at Vanderbilt University Medical Center for four years and another 10 years for International Clinical Laboratories, at West Side Hospital. He stated to others that he always liked the positions he held and secured his family’s future, having been actively employed his entire career. He was an active member of the National Association of Medical Examiners, the American Association of Blood Banks, and was a past president of the Tennessee Association of Blood Banks.

He married his devoted and loving wife, Shirley Wyatt Welch, on Aug. 23, 1963, a marriage lasting 54 years. They had two children of whom he was immensely proud for their dedication to their chosen fields and their hard work: daughter Leslie Welch Hopkins, husband Robert Hopkins IV, of Smyrna; one grandson, Zachary Wyatt Coleman; son, Derek Christopher Welch and wife Leslie Marnett Welch; three grandchildren, Carter Remington Welch, Hudson Scarborough Welch, and Lila Elizabeth Welch.

He had three sisters, Ouida Welch Williams and husband Don Williams (deceased), of Seymour; Lila Jane Welch McCalman, of Merritt Island, Florida (deceased), and husband J. R. (Pete) McCalman, of Merritt Island, Florida (deceased), Linda Simmons Upchurch and husband Richard Upchurch, of Nashville.

He leaves numerous nieces and nephews, including Rod Williams and wife Luella, of Nashville, Don Williams and wife Jean, of Seymour, Tim Williams and wife Amy, of Knoxville, Rebecca Mandel and husband Dale Mandel, of Nashville, Kathleen Williams Mooradian and husband Don Mooradian, of Nashville,

Mark McCalman and wife Donna, of Johnson City, Michael McCalman and husband John Hoffman, of New York City, New York, Cindy DeWitt and husband Andy, of Winter Park, Florida, Thomas Upchurch and wife Elizabeth, of Memphis.

He also leaves behind many more extended family members.

While growing up in White County, he often said the entire county was his playground. It was here he hunted, explored, and fished the Calfkiller River running through his grandfather Carter’s farm and the head of the Caney Fork River, where his Welch ancestral grounds are overlooked by Welch Point, a protected area thanks to the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation and the efforts of niece Kathleen Williams Mooradian.   As his adult sporting outlet, he enjoyed Center Hill Lake all of his life with family and friends, especially when he and Shirley co-owned a houseboat with their best friends Lyall and Marie Craft, for years…in his words, “the good life.”

An online guestbook is available at

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