Honoring our father
|W.D. "Dub" Welker, Jr. was born November 22, 1927, in Cape Girardeau, MO, to Willis D. and Katie (Kistner) Welker. He was one of eight children: Wilma Fern, Burdetta Eunice, Coy Leo, Loy Lillard "Fritz", John Marion, W.D., Conchita LaDon, and Ara Lee.
Dub and Carnetta (Underwood) were married in 1947 and shared six children. Dub and Lela Lorene (Givens) were married February 6, 1980. He was a step-father to her three children.
Dub was a graduate of Cape Central High School, Cape Girardeau, MO, in 1945. He was active in sports, particularly in basketball and baseball. In his senior year, his basketball team won State Championship. Dub was an avid St. Louis Cardinal fan. Once, while playing on the Capaha adult baseball team in Cape Girardeau, MO, the St. Louis Cardinals came to town to play with the Capahas. A scout invited Dub and two of his buddies to try out for the Cardinal team. Dub spent three days in St. Louis for the tryouts. However, he said, sadly, he didn't make the Cardinal team.
Dub served in the U.S. Army as a tech sergeant from November 1945 to March 1947. He was a construction machine operator in the Pacific, where he helped re-build, at the time, the world's longest concrete air runway at the Yokota Army Air Field near Tokyo, Japan. Dub earned the Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal, Japan. He also served in the Missouri National Guard from 1948-1952.
Dub worked at the Cape Girardeau Fire Department in Cape Girardeau, MO, serving 31 years, retiring as captain. During his off duty days, Dub worked for L.L. Welker Plumbing and Heating owned by his brother, "Fritz" Welker. Following his retirement as a fire fighter and plumber, he was employed by the Delta School System, Delta, Mo, as a custodian and school bus driver. He retired from there after 20 plus years.
W.D. Welker had a large family of 6 children, 14 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren,
3 step-children, 8 step-grandchildren, and 1 step-great-grandchild. He was very well known around Cape Girardeau and Scott counties in Southeast Missouri. Every one who knew him thought of Dub as a genuinely nice man and a dedicated worker. He never missed a day of duty while employed at the Cape Fire Department. He also served as a volunteer fireman for the Whitewater Fire District.
W.D. "Dub" Welker, Jr., passed away at his home in Chaffee, MO, Sunday, April 24, 2016.
This eulogy was written by his children: Susan Welker, Kathy Welker Horn, Sam Welker, Dan Welker and George Welker. This letter is dedicated to his daughter, Dianne Welker Sebaugh, who passed away April 10, 2014.
(Included in the eulogy, the following story, "The Bay Area", was written and read by Dub's daughter, Kathleen Welker Horn. The poem," Glazed Doughnuts", was written and read by his daughter, Susan Welker)
"The Bay Area" By Kathleen Welker Horn
It is called "The Bay", but it is really a garage. I was always inclined to whisper when I entered "The Bay" area because no matter how muted the sound, it seemed to echo off the gray concrete walls and floor. The floor was mopped and waxed daily. I would walk cautiously because of the sheen that made me think it was slippery as black ice. The room temperature was as cold as it looked. There was an essence of reverence when I walked past the mastodon-like trucks. Their tires alone stood as tall as me. The black rubber was as shiny as the floor. Dust was forbidden in "The Bay" area. The chrome fenders on the front of the trucks were wide and flat so they could accommodate the life saving accessories stored there. There was the siren, an axe, and of course the bell.
I was allowed to ring the bell, but only with permission. I would yank the cord once, and not very hard. However, one clang of the bell would resonate forever in my ears. I liked to sit on the front fender, or the metal strip of the cab. It felt so cold on my skinny bare legs. I was too intimidated to sit behind the wheel in the cab. That colossal size steering wheel was bigger than my neighbor's over-fed Labrador retriever. I felt very small, yet formidable sitting on the truck. I could feel my heart palpitate when I would find myself holding my breath in anticipation of the alarm sounding, and my having to bolt out of the way of the well orchestrated routine of the firefighters. Even though I expected the alarm to sound, it would still "scare the pants off me" when it did.
It is interesting to note that the smell of smoke was absent. This minor detail intrigued me. "The Bay' smelled of rubber, motor oil, and wax. Even the canvas hoses were placed exact, so they could be utilized with one pull, smelled fresh like laundry left on a clothes-line on a sunny spring day. All the supplies that could possibly be used at the scene of an emergency, were meticulously organized on the truck. Because not a second could be wasted in retrieving it if needed, every item had its own place. Even the boots were left on the floor under the open door at the fireman's position on the truck. His coat and hat was on his seat. This, so he could don his gear at the time he would vault into the vehicle. Everything was posed at attention, ready for the command to "go".
These monstrous red trucks would then burst forth into life: the engines roaring like a lion and ready to pounce, the light's strobe flashing mimics that of a heartbeat, and the siren pierces the air screaming like an eagle announcing its flight. Only "The Bay" could house such trucks that have power, vitality, and a command of respect. I knew I was a special kid to be so up close and personal with such massive machines. I was allowed to come to "The Bay" area of the station to visit, because this was Daddy's second home.
© Copyright 2007 Katie Hornelker (kathleenhorn at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Katie Hornelker has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
"Glazed Doughnuts" By Susan J. Welker
At the dawning
on Sunday morning,
after a fireman's shift
even when tired and stiff,
Daddy came falling in
a little past seven a.m.
"There better not be any fuss'n!"
as he brought home a dozen.
Six little heads
popp'n up out of their beds
with hungry tummies
all set for the yummy
© Copyright 2006 turtlemoon (susanjwelker at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
turtlemoon has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Thank you, Dad.