Clayton Welsh, a well-known community leader, sports advocate and family man in Grand Bank, has died, following a long struggle with cancer.
Welsh was the deputy mayor of Grand Bank and known throughout the province for his long connection to the sporting community. He died Friday with his wife, Marjorie, holding his hand, and other family, including his daughters Kelli Davis and Cawley King, at his side. He was 72.
"He's been my best friend my whole life. We laughed together until he drew his last breath," a distraught Marjorie Welsh said Monday. The couple would have marked their 52nd wedding anniversary on May 16.
Davis, his daughter, said, "We've lost a huge part of our family. We're heartbroken. He was our dad, our best friend."
Welsh was a recreation and sports consultant with the provincial government for many years, and often led or was a member of provincial delegations that attended Canada Games events.
He also participated in the Games as an official and assisted in coaching the province's 1993 Summer Games soccer team.
Lobbied for improved health care
His three main passions were his family, his community and sports, said his daughter.
Even with his health failing, he continued to attend council meetings, and stood in the rain and lobbied for improved health care on the Burin Peninsula during a public rally in late March.
"Even after he was told by the doctors they could do no more for him, he was still fighting," said Davis.
Welsh was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association's Hall of Fame in 2012 and was especially proud of his connection to the 1974 Challenge Cup-winning Grand Bank Gee Bees.
He was a faithful fan of the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings, and was a founding board member and avid supporter of the Grande Meadows Golf Club in Frenchman's Cove.
In his later years, he would typically start his day with a visit to Sharon's Nook restaurant, and then gather with his buddies at Harry English's shed for a gab session.
Davis said his passion and drive had an influence on people of all ages, throughout the province.
"He thought everyone mattered. If there was a cause, he was there to fight for it," she said.
Welsh is being waked at Wiseman's Funeral Home in Grand Bank, where's he's dressed in his favourite Red Wings polo shirt. His Gee Bees and Town of Grand Bank jackets are also on prominent display.
A funeral service for the man best known as "Clayt" will take place at Grand Bank United Church on Tuesday at 2 p.m. NT.