Col. Robert P. Welch 1939 - 2022

Col. Robert P. Welch, retired USAF, passed away April 30, 2022, with his family by his side. He is survived by Karen, his wife of nearly 60 years; his daughters, Barbara Fanning (husband Mark) and Cindy Lambert (husband Don); and five grandchildren, Tyler, Trevor, Sean, Rachael and Connor. He is also survived by his nieces, Colleen Karr, Cathy Roberts and Darlene Kepnes. He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and Patrick Welch; and his sister, Patricia Carey.

Bob joined the United States Air Force in 1961. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant after completing Navigator training. He went on to Electronic Warfare Officer Training and would soon become a pilot. He started combat missions in the Vietnam War, flying the C-141 Jet Cargo Aircraft. He later flew the EB-66. In total, he completed 228 combat missions, 516.5 combat hours, and 222 combat sorties.

After Vietnam, he went to Maintenance Officer School and later flew the C-5 Galaxy. He was awarded many medals during his career, including the Legion of Merit, several Meritorious Service medals, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. He proudly served his country for 31 years, retiring in 1992 as a Colonel, USAF.

After retiring from the military, Bob wasn’t ready to slow down. After several job offers, Bob and Karen decided to move to Oregon, where Bob could continue to use his expertise in maintenance at Evergreen Airlines. He quickly became a vital part of the company, as well as a close friend of the owner, Mr. Del Smith. He worked for Evergreen for 10 years. During this time, the company opened the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, best known for housing the Spruce Goose, as well as many other World War I and II aircraft. Bob became a board member for the museum and volunteered to give tours. His vast knowledge of the military and airplanes, along with personal side notes, always drew large crowds during his tours.

Both Bob and Karen enjoyed the military life. It provided Bob the opportunity to visit nearly every country in the world and meet many dignitaries during his travels. He had plenty of stories he loved to share, especially with his grandchildren. As they grew older, they understood the love and sacrifice their grandfather gave to his country.

Along with his love for the military, Bob enjoyed many hobbies. This included tax preparation at the Senior Center, and woodcarving, which would soon become a favorite pastime. He enjoyed making canes for himself, and Christmas ornaments for his grandchildren.

Bob will be laid to rest with Honors on September 16, 2022, at the Sacramento National Cemetery.

To leave condolences, visit