The Welch Family's Legacy of Caring
Ask anyone who's been with the hospital since the early years about the Welch family's involvement with Mercy Medical Center and you'll hear the same comments of respect and appreciation.
From left to right: Maxine Welch, Peggy Welch
Meek, and Jim Meek in the Meek family gardens.
"They have always been dedicated to the healing mission of the Sisters of Mercy," comments Jim Tinker, President/CEO of Mercycare Service Corporation. Their contributions to the hospital have been invaluable and play an important role in the history of the hospital."
On a perfect summer day in Peggy and Jim Meek's spectacular gardens, sisters-in-law Maxine Welch and Peggy Welch Meek shared insight into their family's history with Mercy Medical Center.
Peggy began, "My first memories of Mercy Medical Center revolve around Sister Mary de Lellis or 'Aunt Cath' as we affectionately called her. She was sister to my father, Frank Welch."
Sister Mary de Lellis, born in 1893, was a nurse at Mercy for many years serving in many capacities. She was the nurse manager of the OB-GYN department, the first director of Hallmar and in her later years, a greeter at the information desk.
"She meant a lot to our family," Meek continued. "All five of our children were born at Mercy. I'll never forget her charging into my room to check on me when my first child was born. She was dressed in her full black habit, and that was back when the hospital had no air-conditioning. Then for years after it became a family tradition to meet 'Aunt Cath' every Tuesday for lunch in the Mercy cafeteria."
Another element of Sister Mary de Lellis' legacy was her sponsorship of a novice into the Sisters of Mercy community‚Äîthat novice was Sister Mary Lawrence who later became the President and CEO of Mercy Medical Center.
Maxine remembered, "We looked forward to the times Sister Mary de Lellis would bring Sister Mary Lawrence and Sister Mary Clarence to dinner. Back then, every sister had to have a companion, because they were not allowed to travel alone."
During the late 1960's, Ted Welch (Maxine's husband and Peggy's brother) joined the Mercy Medical Center board of trustees. He was President/CEO of People's Bank and Trust and his expertise proved invaluable to the board's finance committee. Ted was also instrumental in the creation of the area ambulance association. On June 23, 1993, he was honored for his 25 years of dedicated service. He died in 1996.
Supporting Mercy has truly been a family affair. Maxine served as a hospital volunteer, Peggy and Jim Meek brought communion to patients, and one of the Meek daughters was a candy striper. Since 2001, Peggy has served as a Mercy Foundation board member. Jim, Peggy and Maxine are members of Mercy's Founders' Society as well.
When asked why they continue to support Mercy Medical Center, their replies were varied.
"I want to keep Ted's memory alive. This was an organization that he cared about deeply," Maxine replies.
"We believe strongly in the Mercy Touch‚ the magnificent care that patients receive," Peggy adds.
"Is there any other choice?" Jim smiles.