Edwina Albritton Welch passed peacefully from this life into the loving arms of her Lord and Savior on November 19, 2022, at her home in Hewitt, Texas.
Edwina was born in Marion, Louisiana, on October 19, 1930, the first child of Wilburn Dewey (‘W.D.’) and Linnave (Green) Albritton. She started elementary school in Marion, but when the family moved to West Monroe, Louisiana, she completed her primary education at Crosley Elementary School. She was a graduate of Ouachita Parish High School and attended Northeast Louisiana Junior College. She completed her B.S. degree at LSU in Bacteriology and became a Certified Medical Technologist.
She loved music and was an accomplished pianist. She had a lovely alto voice and sang in the choral ensembles of Ouachita Parish High School, which were very accomplished during the 1940’s as well as church choir all of her life.
She met a red-headed baritone in the Ouachita Parish High School Choir named Charlie Bart Welch, who also happened to be in many of her classes both in High School as well as at NJC. Though they were friends, they did not formally ‘date’ until later when both were students at LSU. While at LSU, she was initiated into the Alpha Eta chapter of Phi Mu sorority. After graduation, the friendship between Edwina and Charlie blossomed and on Dec. 24, 1952, they became engaged and they were married on Aug 14th, 1953.
For a short time, they made their home in Baton Rouge while Charlie continued in graduate school and Edwina worked as a Medical Technologist. During the Korean conflict Charlie served in the US Army and was based at Ft. Lewis in Olympia, Washington. During this time, Edwina who was living with her parents in West Monroe, gave birth to their daughter Martha Lynne (Gackle). Soon, the young family was reunited and lived just off the military base in Olympia until Charlie’s duty with the Army was complete. They returned with their two-year-old daughter to West Monroe where Charlie took a position with Olinkraft, Inc. (later known as Riverwood International, Corp.) in Research and Development. During this time, Edwina worked as a Medical Technologist in the Monroe Children’s Clinic, at Monroe Medical Laboratories and ultimately, served over 30 years at Glenwood Hospital.
In 1963, Edwina and Charlie welcomed their second child, Britton David (Britt) who was born on Charlie’s birthday. Edwina deeply loved her children. However, Edwina was both a medical professional and a homemaker…she was one of the women in the 1960’s who accomplished both ‘assignments’ successfully. Family was truly important to Edwina and she remained very close to her parents, Linnave and WD, until their passing in 1989 and 1996, respectively.
Edwina was gifted in so very many ways. She was an outstanding cook, an excellent seamstress, an accomplished musician, an avid reader and maintained a beautiful home which was always warm and welcoming.
She was an active member of the First Baptist Church, having been a member of the congregation since her childhood when her family moved to West Monroe. She was a faithful member of the Sanctuary Choir, taught Sunday School, worked at Vacation Bible School, and participated fully as a member of the Agape Ladies Sunday School class. She was a founding member of the Cultura Bookclub, a member of the Monroe Junior Charity League, P.E.O Sisterhood, and Bible Study Fellowship. Edwina and Charlie Bart were also active patrons of the Monroe Little Theater and even had roles in musicals such as Oklahoma and Man of La Mancha.
She and Charlie traveled extensively to various TAPPI conferences for Charlie’s profession. They also embarked on major trips, for weeks at the time, to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific.
They enjoyed their granddaughter Megan, immensely, and were so proud of her musical accomplishments. A true joy for Edwina was the birth of her only great grandchild, McKenna Lynne in 2011. In 2012, they made the difficult decision to leave their home in West Monroe and move to Waco, Texas to be closer to their daughter, grandchild, and great-grandchild.
“Miss Edwina” leaves behind a legacy of service to others, a commitment to family and a spirit of Love for others that was evident to all those that she met. She loved people and her kind and calm spirit was exhibited in her work at the hospital and was greatly appreciated by both her patients and her colleagues. She had a sort of ‘sixth sense’ when others around her were sad or hurting. She was never obtrusive, but rather, would softly engage in conversation or just provide a gentle touch or hug.
Though in the past couple of decades, Alzheimer’s/dementia continued to take more and more of Edwina’s abilities away, both her family and her precious caregivers were daily beneficiaries of her constant smile and sweet spirit. I know that our sweet caregivers, Savannah and Kelsie, as well as those at Stoneybrook who cared for her would agree that this “sixth sense” never left her earthly spirit despite this disease. She would always say ‘thank you,’ smile, tell someone how beautiful or pretty they were — or just say, ‘I love you’ at the most appropriate (and in some cases), the most ‘needed’ time. That was her gift — that was her calling to the very end of her life.
Edwina is survived by her daughter, Martha Lynne (Gackle) and son-in-law, Merlin R. Gackle (Woodway, TX); by her son, Britton David Welch and daughter-in-law, Rosemarie Tompkins Welch (Zion Crossroads, VA), her grand-daughter, Megan Elisabeth Gackle (Plano, TX) and her great-granddaughter, McKenna Lynne Gackle. She is preceded in death by her husband, Charlie Bart Welch, her mother and father as well as her brother, Dewey Green Albritton.
The family is forever grateful for the care and welcoming home provided by the loving staff of Stoneybrook Assisted Living/Memory Care of Hewitt. We would like to express our sincerest gratitude for Edwina’s caregivers Savannah Reiske and Kelsie Lovell (Right at Home, Inc.), who cared for and most of all, LOVED Edwina each and every day over the past three years. These ‘angels’ loved Edwina as they would their own family and there is no doubt that Edwina reciprocated that love. Thus, they will always be a part of our family.
Funeral services for Edwina will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, November 26, 2022 in the chapel of Kilpatrick Funeral Home West Monroe with Dr. Mark Fenn officiating. Visitation will be held from 9:30 AM until 11:00 AM. Interment will follow at Hasley Cemetery.
The family requests that memorials be made to The Alzheimer’s Association or to First West Baptist Church.
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