Richard B. Welch

Date of Birth

December 6, 1939

Date of Death

January 1, 2020

Richard (Dick) Welch passed away at Samarkand Skilled Nursing Facility in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. He was born on December 6,1939, to Donald B. Welch and Genevieve Hinkle Welch at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

Dick’s young years were spent in the small town of Santa Barbara where everyone knew each other. He delivered newspapers on his bike and often walked to the train station with his Gramps Hinkle to watch the trains come in. He attended Roosevelt School and graduated from Laguna Blanca School in 1957. When he was 12 years old he acquired his first horse, Bucky, and soon became an accomplished rider. Years of riding in Hope Ranch, the S.B. back country and the mountains of the Eastern Sierra gave Dick the greatest pleasures that nature offers. In his adult years his devotion to the preservation of forest land led him to connect with Los Padres ForestWatch. He felt these early experiences in Santa Barbara enriched the values of loyalty, responsibility, respect for others, and service to community which were inherent to his family.

Dick continued his education at Occidental College earning a BA degree in liberal arts before attending UCLA School of Business for an MBA in Business and Finance. After graduation from UCLA he enrolled in the U.S. Army Reserve Program and spent many years attending reserve training sessions.

While at Occidental Dick met Frederica Blanchard who was attending UCLA. They married in 1962 and lived in Westwood while Dick completed his degree and Frederica taught elementary school. Following six months active Army Reserve duty at Fort Ord, Dick and Frederica moved to Dick’s hometown, Santa Barbara, where he joined his family mortuary business now named Welch-Ryce-Haider. He worked in partnership with staff serving families in Santa Barbara and Goleta for 14 years.

During his tenure at the mortuary he also served as a Director on the Board of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust (SBBT). It was then he realized he had a passionate interest in business and finance. He resigned from his Board position after serving 4 years and subsequently began a banking career in 1978 as a Commercial Loan Officer. Later he and colleague, John Murphy, formed a new division at SBBT called The Private Client Division. As Senior Vice-President he loved serving individuals in business who needed help to work through challenges that would bring them back into financial stability. He retired from SBBT in 2002 and continued to stay active in the community through his interests in the nonprofit world.

Dick learned that Santa Barbara is a generous town that gives of itself through hundreds of nonprofit agencies in order to provide service and support to those in need. He was excited when he realized that the knowledge he gained from his business career could be shared with the nonprofit community and he found that while working with others, he made long lasting friendships.

Dick joined the Downtown Rotary Club 1968 and maintained a lifelong membership. He served as President 1974-1975. 

He joined the Board of the S.B. Scholarship Foundation when it was a fledgling and served as President 1972-1974. He believed in the value of education for all and in the work of the Foundation.

He was a former member of the Board of Directors of Cottage Health Care System, Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce. He was Chairman of Westmont College Foundation, Chair of the YMCA Capital Campaign to renovate the “Y”, and Chair of the Planned Giving Committee of Family Service Agency.

He served for 35 years as Trustee for Wood Glen Hall and 4 years as Trustee for Laguna Blanca School.

Dick was honored and delighted to receive significant recognition for his various contributions to the community as he felt each award was representative of the quality of volunteerism in Santa Barbara.

2002: From YMCA, Volunteer of the Year

2005: From S.B. News-Press, New-Press Lifetime Achievement Award

2007: S.B. Foundation and KEYT Man of the Year Award- with Woman of the Year Patricia Caldwell Dow

Dick became a member of the Santa Barbara Club in 1968. When he became a 50 year member in 2018, he became a Distinguished Emeritus Member as an Arlington Honoree.

Dick was a long term member of the Presbyterian Church in Santa Barbara and served as an elder for many years.

Dick and Frederica are very fortunate to have their family based in Santa Barbara. He was so proud of every member of his family and loved each one dearly. He has gifted us with wonderful memories. Dick is survived by his wife of 57 years, Frederica; daughter, Jennifer Oakley, and her husband Bill Oakley; son, Jimmy Welch and his wife, Brooke (Allen) Welch; grandchildren Will Oakley (20), Nick Oakley (17), Hailey Welch (12), and Ryder Welch (8); niece and nephews Gregory Welch, Douglas Welch, Benjamin Welch, Michael Blanchard, and Emery Blanchard. He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Genevieve Welch and his brother, Stephen Welch.

The Welch/Oakley family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the staff of Cottage Hospital and to the compassionate care of Samarkand Memory Care and Skilled Nursing Facility as well as to his physicians Dr. Grace Park, Dr. Stephanie Rothman, and Dr. Jervis Yau.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 25th, at 10:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 21 E. Constance Avenue with reception following at the Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Dick’s honor be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, Westmont College, Los Padres ForestWatch, or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels.


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