Welsh, James Edward
Five months after his wife of 62 years died, James Edward Welsh decided that he, too, would take his leave. He passed away on February 11, but not before serenading his family with Brush Up Your Shakespeare, an old show tune and lasting memory from his youthful performances with the Windsor Light Opera.
It did not go unnoticed that Jim died on the first day of spring training. He must have been ready, leaving so early in the season. Jim loved baseball as much as he loved his wife, his two daughters and his Scottish roots.
In the 1940s, Jim was a star athlete with Windsor's Walkerville Collegiate, making headlines in the Windsor Star for his sprinting speed, soccer skills and his ability to hit home runs in baseball. Jim played semi-pro ball for the Cambridge Terriers and was scouted by the MLB. He loved Ted Williams ("The Greatest Player of All Time") and went to see him in Detroit whenever the Red Sox played the Tigers.
His old-school Glaswegian father eventually convinced him to get a real job, so Jim worked in accounting in Windsor and later joined Joy Manufacturing in Cambridge and Mutual Life of Canada in Kitchener before getting his Canadian securities designation to help clients with investing.
Like his dad, Charlie Welsh, a founder of the Hiram Walker credit union in Windsor, Jim was a sharp-dressed man. His favourite store was Lou Myles in Toronto and until the end, Jim was meticulously styled, never content unless his hair was combed, shirt collar crisp and pants pressed.
Jim took joy in the accomplishments of his four grandsons, marveling at their success in track and soccer (Kyle and Graeme) and baseball and hockey (Daniel and David). He loved to watch them compete and on occasion, spoke to David's rep baseball team, giving tips on how to become a great player. He was proud of his grandsons' accomplishments, athletically and professionally.
While his enthusiasm for sports and women continued unabated, Jim never really recovered from the death of his wife, Beverly, 91, last September. He missed her deeply and, at the age of 89, struggled without her presence. Still, he played the role of the cheerful guy, always answering his daughters' telephone calls with the words, "Hi honeybun."
In his final days in hospital, Jim joked with his family, telling grandson, Daniel, he looked like Ted Williams and calling son-in-law, Jolyon, the "President of the United States." (44, not 45.) He soon fell silent but carried on for a few more days so his daughters, Megan and Moira, could say their goodbyes. Godspeed, fast man.
Visitation for James Welsh will be held at Allison Funeral Home at 103 Mill St. in Port Hope on Saturday, February 15 at 10 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. In honour of Jim's love of books, please send donations to the Port Hope Public Library.