The Honorable (Ret.) Joseph R. Welch of Plymouth, MA, a former Massachusetts Trial Court Judge known for his fairness and optimism, died on October 11, 2014. He was 79. Gov. Michael Dukakis appointed Judge Welch to the bench in 1990. He retired from the bench in 2004. Born in Randolph, MA, he was a graduate of Williston Academy in 1953 and Bates College in 1957. He served as a gunnery officer on the USS Hawkins DDR-873 of the 6th Fleet, U.S. Navy for 3 years. He earned his law degree at Boston College Law School in 1963.
He joined the law firm Welch & Welch in Randolph and began many years of public service from 1964-1990, including Town Moderator of Randolph. He served as an assistant district attorney in Norfolk County from 1968-1975 trying many felony and murder cases. Judge Welch was a past president of the Norfolk County Bar Association. In 1980, he was the founder of the Norfolk Bar Advocates program representing indigent defendants in all the courts of Norfolk County serving as president Pro Bono until 1990. He was the first jury judge at the Quincy District Court. He was the founder, executive director and general counsel for the Randolph Housing Authority for many years. As past President of the Mass. Heart Association and Vice President of the N.E. Chapter of the American Heart Association, he received the Paul Dudley White award in 1993. Judge Welch was a longtime member of the Massachusetts Bar Association and a retired Commander in the US Navy Reserve.
He is survived by his wife Barbara (West), two sons, George N. Welch, MD of NY City, Joseph R. Welch Jr, Esq. of Hong Kong, a daughter Breena W. Holmes, MD of Middlebury, VT. His legacy is left in Sam, Nick and Jane Holmes and Claire, Cate and Jack Welch, his six grandchildren. His wise voice will be missed.