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Obituaries: August 30, 2018

Obituaries from the August 30 paper.

Alice Little

Alice Welch Little, 49 of Oak Grove, died on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. She was born to Benjamin Welch, Sr. and Linda Welch on Apr. 25, 1969 in Lake Charles. Alice passed alongside her beloved parents and together the three ascended.

Before attending Lamar University, Alice was a Mighty Tarpon at South Cameron High School. There she excelled at basketball and enjoyed many other sports. She continued her support of the Tarpons for many years to follow, as both her daughters were Mighty Tarpons as well.

At Lamar University, Alice earned her degree in respiratory therapy, which allowed her to combine her academic skills with her innate nurturing personality to improve the quality of life for the great many patients in her care.

Alice first became a mother in 1994, when she welcomed daughter Katie and again in 1997 with the addition of daughter Mattie.

While Alice felt infinitely blessed to be called Mom, it was the arrival of Mattie’s son Quince, in 2016, that she was most proud to be called Maw Maw; as little Quince Thomas soon became the joy of Alice’s life.

As sometimes happens in life, Alice saved the best for last. For it was in recent years that she rekindled a long lost romance with Byron Thibeaux Sr., who would become the love of her life and her partner, as well as little Quince’s PaPop.

Alice was devoted. She was a devoted mother, grandmother, daughter and sister. She was a devoted aunt, partner and friend. She loved wholly and unconditionally, and welcomed every soul who crossed her path with open arms and heart. It wasn’t unusual for her to parent her girls’ friends as though they were her own children, feeding or clothing, supporting or disciplining as needed. She was generous to a fault and would happily go without so that others could prosper. To Alice, family was everything. Her greatest joy and pleasure was to be in the kitchen cooking up a pot of something surrounded by the ones she loved. She lived her life in service of her family.

Alice will be remembered as a great cook with a quick wit, wicked sense of humor and boundless intelligence. But above all she is remembered as a selfless mother.

Alice is survived by her daughter and son-in law, Katie and Nicolas Gorman; her daughter Mattie Little and grandson Quince Thomas Little; her life partner Byron Thibeaux; her brothers Benjamin Welch Jr., Yancy Welch and Leslie “Rusty” Welch; and numerous precious nieces and nephews.

The family received friends at Johnson Funeral Home on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitation continued on Monday in the gymnasium of South Cameron High School from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Funeral services followed at 1 p.m. in the gym, officiated by Pastor Melvin J. Yorks. Interment followed at Rutherford Cemetery under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Grand Chenier United Methodist Church, 2873 Grand Chenier Highway, Grand Chenier LA 70643.

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Benjamin Welch, Sr.

Benjamin Carl Welch Sr., of Oak Grove the Patriarch of the Welch Family, was called home to be with the Heavenly Father alongside his loving wife, Linda, of 55 years and his only daughter, Alice, at the age of 77 on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Benjamin Welch was born on Aug. 7, 1941 to Amedy “Buster” P. and Dora Welch of Oak Grove, La.

In adolescent years, he learned the skills of a cattleman, hunting and trapping, all while working on the family dairy farm. These would become an expertise of Benny’s over the years that he ensured to pass down to his children and grandchildren. “Outdoors man” is only part of the legacy he has left behind.

Benny’s strength in character can be defined by the hard times he endured as a teenager. In 1957, Benny clung to the sturdy oak, that remains in his front yard, as Hurricane Audrey destroyed the world he knew around him. His will to live gave him the ability to survive the storm along with his parents and sisters. From there on, he rebuilt never looking back and keeping an optimistic outlook on life.

He attended South Cameron High School before Hurricane Audrey, where he played quarterback and ran track for the South Cameron Tarpons. Due to the storm, he relocated his junior year to Grand Lake High School and was the first quarterback of the Grand Lake Hornets and a state champion in track. His senior year, he returned to South Cameron High School to finish out the legacy he began as the first quarterback of the Mighty Tarpons after the Hurricane. In his high school career, he won eight state championships in track, which included scholarships that paid for his college education.

In 1959, Benny enrolled at McNeese State University where he majored in Elementary Education. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, he went on to achieve his Master’s Plus 30 in Administration and Supervision. He began his professional career at Johnson Bayou Elementary School, then moved to Cameron Elementary and ultimately became the seventh grade teacher at Grand Chenier Elementary. He was then promoted to Principal of Grand Chenier where he finished out his 30 year career. During his professional career, he was first an educator, as well as an avid coach of many sports, with football being his passion. He inspired and mentored the community’s youth through education and sports for years to come and his impact on the community is evident through every life that he influenced.

In the 1980s, Benny became one of the first alligator farmers in the state of Louisiana and one of the founders of the Fur and Alligator Advisory Council. In 1998, he took his entrepreneur skills and established the Original Cajun Bens LLC, which included alligator, venison and eventually crawfish snack sticks. He later branched out to include all alligator novelty products, specializing in alligator teeth. His products are featured worldwide; from concerts, country music videos, and even Monday Night Football.

In his retirement, he and Linda enjoyed traveling throughout the United States to promote their alligator business; all the while, kindling new friendships and continuing to grow old friendships. He was a lifelong member of Grand Chenier United Methodist Church and was a steward of the church.

Benny was preceeded in death by his wife of 55 years, Linda Welch; his daughter, Alice Welch Little; mother and father, Amedy “Buster” P. and Dora Welch.

Benny is survived by his three sons, Ben Welch, Yancy (Betty) Welch, and Leslie “Rusty” (Ashley) Welch; his sisters, Sharron (Warren) Conner and Francis (Charles) Perry; along with 16 plus grandchildren; and many great grandchildren.

In true Benny Welch fashion, he would quote to everyone reading this, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be O.K.!”

The family received friends at Johnson Funeral Home on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitation continued on Monday in the gymnasium of South Cameron High School from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Funeral services were held at 1 p.m., in the gym, officiated by Pastor Melvin J. Yorks. Interment followed at Rutherford Cemetery under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Grand Chenier United Methodist Church, 2873 Grand Chenier Highway, Grand Chenier LA 70643.

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Linda Welch

Linda Gayle Welch, the Matriarch of the Welch Family, was called home to our Heavenly Father on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 alongside her husband of 55 years and her only daughter, Alice, at the age of 72. She was born to William Clyde and Lucille Pearce of Hackberry on Dec. 3, 1945. She was born a twin with William Dale Pearce and was also the sister of Francis Gafford and James Pearce.

Linda’s life was a love story one could only dream of. It all began her senior year as a Mustang at Hackberry High School when she attended the Louisiana Fur and Wildlife Festival. There she was destined to be swooned by the one and only Benny Welch. There the journey began.

After graduating in May of 1963, the following August, Benny and Linda shared their vows and started building their empire. Linda gave birth to her first son, Benjamin Welch Jr., nine months later and would be followed by two more sons and one daughter: Yancy Welch, Alice Welch, and Leslie “Rusty” Welch. As the years pass, she would become the beloved grandmother of 16 plus grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Linda had a passion for antiques and decorated her home in different historical pieces as a show room for her business. Her pride for her prestige collection illuminated as she would tour guests through each room, explaining the story behind each piece. It never failed that she would come home with a new interesting treasure, determined to justify to “Paw Paw” why she needed it. The Welch household was by far the most historical, yet uniquely, decorated home in Cameron Parish.

Linda was well known for her kind soul and, especially, her beauty. Naturally, she outshined everyone with her stunning features. Between tearing up the dance floor at every event she would attend, to hosting family get togethers, her vibrant personality caught the attention of everyone in the room. Linda had a way of bringing joy to the hearts around her through her love, hospitality, her playfulness, and ability to be a rock to those who needed to be grounded during hard times. Her strength was an outstanding characteristic she displayed daily.

Linda was a staple of a wife to Benny as she stood by him through many phases of life. She supported her four children and numerous grandchildren at sporting events, graduations, weddings, birthdays, and other sentimental moments. Even those who were not her own were made to feel like her family; many people can attest to this statement. Together, they were both influential icons in the Cameron Parish Community.

Her legacy is instilled in the hearts of the family members and friends that are still here to finish serving the Lord.

Linda was preceded in death by her mother, Lucille Pearce, her father, Clyde Pearce, her sister, Francis Gafford, her daughter, Alice Welch Little, and the love of her life, Benjamin Welch Sr.

She is survived by her three sons, Benjamin Welch Jr., Yancy Welch, and Leslie Welch, her many grandchildren/great-grandchildren and her brothers, Bill and Jimmy Pearce, and their dog, Glass.

The family received friends at Johnson Funeral Home on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitation continued on Monday in the gymnasium of South Cameron High School from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Funeral services followed at 1 p.m. in the gym, officiated by Pastor Melvin J. Yorks. Interment followed at Rutherford Cemetery under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home.

The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to Grand Chenier United Methodist Church, 2873 Grand Chenier Highway, Grand Chenier LA 70643.

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Anthony Harmon

Anthony Eli (Tony) Harmon died at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018.

He is survived by his daughter, Crystal; sons, Marcus Harmon and Dillon Fruge; two grandsons; one granddaughter; one uncle, Ferdinand Bishop of Cameron; brothers, Leonard (Tyrella) and Willie of Lake Charles; and one sister, Janet Dorsett (Tony) of Dallas, Texas. He also leaves to mourn his beloved partner, Debra Fruge.

He was preceded in death by his father, Charlie Harmon; mother, Gladys Bishop Harmon; and one sister.

A memorial service was held Saturday, Aug. 25, at Combre Funeral Home in Lake Charles. Rev. Ronald Randolph officiated.

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