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Callison-Lough Funeral Home

605 W Central, Bentonville, AR

OBITUARY

Deborah Josephine Welch

October 27, 1951December 16, 2019

Deborah (Debby) Uhiren Welch, 68, died December 16, 2019 in Bentonville, AR. Debby was born on October 27, 1951 in Little Rock, AR, the daughter of Bill and Gloria Bujarski Uhiren of Carlisle, AR.

Debby is survived by her husband, Bill Welch; her siblings, Peggy and Curt Moody of Carlisle; Fred Uhiren of Hazen; and Joan Woodruff of Little Rock; her children, Chris Paladino of Little Rock; Michael and Leslie Paladino of Bentonville; step-children Brad and Kay Welch, Joe and Bonnie Welch, Kelly and David Eggebeen, and Brian and Ileana Welch; her grandchildren, Gabby and Peter Paladino; several aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins.Debby is preceded in death by her parents, Bill and Gloria Bujarski Uhiren.

Services to honor and celebrate the life of Debby were held on December 20 at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Bentonville, AR. Arrangements were under the care of Callison-Lough Funeral Home in Bentonville. www.CallisonLoughFH.com.

```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` Her sons, Chris and Michael Paladino collaborated in writing and Michael delivered the following tribute to their mother.

Whether you knew Debby Welch as Debby, Debby Jo, Deb, Grandeb, Little Debby, or Momma, she touched a lot of lives across a lot of generations and locations. In this note, we wanted to share some thoughts on one of the strongest and most disciplined people we’ve ever met. It’s hard to talk about our mom without talking about her medical background because of how much that shaped her life. During the last couple of weeks of her life, we got to hear her share a number of stories with friends, family, doctors and nurses. So, we thought we’d pass those along as close to the way she would have as we can. Most of you probably already know that she was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 9.

At that time, the doctors told her she would likely not live past 30 and most certainly wouldn’t be able to have children. She obviously proved them wrong on both accounts. It’s easy to hear about her diabetes and not have an appreciation for what it took to live with that her whole life. One of the stories she told was about dinner time during her childhood years. Her mom would make her a meal of frozen broccoli and cauliflower and have her eat before everyone else in the family. Then the family would sit down and have their meal. That experience was clearly tough for her.

Debby also hated needles. Think about that for a second. Someone who had to take a daily shot for most of her life...not to mention the countless sticks from hospital visits and procedures...hated needles. Every shot she had to take was such a challenge for her that she decided that she would have to make the most of every single day to make that shot worthwhile. If you spent any amount of time with her at all, you saw that zeal for life and for making the most of every day.

Later at age 51, Debby received a heart transplant. Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL had never done a heart transplant for a diabetic, but given how well she had taken care of herself, they were willing to try it. It wasn’t without complications, but overall it was successful and allowed her to get 17 more years on this earth. During those extra years she got to meet her grandchildren and watch them grow while making a ton of other memories with families and friends. We’ll forever be grateful to Bill for both encouraging her to go through with the transplant as well as almost single-handedly caring for her afterwards. And of course the last big medical obstacle was the cancer that we learned about on Thanksgiving just about 3 weeks ago. Even with that disease, she handled it with discipline and dignity and got to spend another couple weeks with her family before her passing. During that most recent hospital stay, she enjoyed getting to educate some of the doctors in Northwest Arkansas. Many of them had never treated a heart transplant recipient, and she was happy to fill them in on the nuances. She also took great pride in teaching one particular doctor how to have a sense of humor even in the most serious of circumstances. In the hospital, we all joked that we dealt with difficult topics with humor, and she was definitely the ringleader.

Debby was obviously full of life and full of energy. She loved walking and particularly loved the trail behind her and Bill’s house in Florida. As we’ve learned over the past few days from letters and online posts, she impacted a lot more of those folks than we ever realized. Debby obviously loved to bake. Most of you reading this have probably eaten a cake, cookies, candy or some other treats that she made. The crazy thing about that is that she couldn’t eat most of what she made… she just loved feeding others. When she and Bill moved to Bentonville, she almost immediately started baking and bringing her treats to the office where I work. After a few weeks, the team dubbed her “Little Debby” playing off the snack cake brand. When she and Bill walked in the door, a company-wide announcement would go out so the team could come check out what she brought. She brought happiness to a lot of folks that way.

Debby had a strong faith referring to herself as a “cradle Catholic”. She was always active in her church...most recently here at St. Stephen’s. During those last days leading up to her death, she repeated the mantra “Thy will be done” and told us she was looking forward to hearing God tell her “Well done my good and faithful servant”. We’re excited that she has now had that opportunity.

Debby believed strongly in the power of a smile and never met a stranger. We’ve heard her sister, Peg, joke that our mom learned how to smile as a cheerleader and never stopped. She often referenced a song that we learned as a kid: “Smile, don’t you know God loves you. Come to think of it, I love you, too. Take the time to smile at someone and before you’re through, someone will be smiling back at you.” She thoroughly believed that and lived it out daily. That smile typically went along with a joke and a laugh.

In fact, in some of her last words to at the hospice facility, even when she could barely manage to speak and move, she was still joking sarcastically with us and smiling. Thank you to all that sent flowers and cards, to those that prayed, and to those that visited during the last weeks of Debby’s life. Those last weeks truly were a blessing for her and her family to be able to finish her story well, and you all were very much a part of that.

Debby Welch was a great woman. We are honored that she was our mother, and we’ll continue to do our best to make her proud. Love you, mom.

Services

  • Rosary Service and Visitation Friday, December 20, 2019
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, December 20, 2019

Memories

Deborah Josephine Welch

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Mary Hiryak Roberts

December 21, 2019

Debby was my first friend in school at Slovak. I loved her and her family and enjoyed staying with them some days in summer. I was so glad to see her for the first time since high school at her mothers funeral. My sympathies go out to Bill and her beautiful family.🙏🙏🙏

Bonnie Welch

December 20, 2019

Debby made me feel a part of the family immediately. She blessed me with a tiara for mine and Joe's wedding and a cherished family hanky carried by the Welch brides-to-be. She always encouraged me. I've never met a woman with more willpower, patience, and diligence with a big caring heart. She knew how to use a crockpot to create fabulous meals. Her smile, charisma, and enthusiasm for life will forever be missed.
Thank you Debby for being you. I love you. - Bonnie

Debbye Lanier O'Banion

December 20, 2019

Very sorry to read of Debby's death. Sounds like she had a full life.
Prayers for your family.

Joanie Woodruff

December 19, 2019

I was 3 when Debby had to get her urine tested every day. Ironic that was our name and we hated it! I remember wanting it to be blue. I’m not even sure if that was correct, but it is our favorite color. I was always scared of needles. I’ve been a nurse for over 30 years. I work in the operating room and don’t have to use needles. Thank you God.. I never saw Debby cry. Thank you God again. As kids our Kool aid was made with saccharine, we didn’t question it. We just loved her. Deb and Peggy told me I was adopted cause I had green eyes and no dimple in my chin. We were in the hospital for her transplant when Mom had me get her driver’s license out. We were hoping we could donate or something . I matched her blood type! We thought we were gonna loose her then. We didn’t until now. What a hero to me and so many. Thank you all and love you

Sharon Richardson

December 18, 2019

Debby and I really got to know each other well our senior year. It was my first year to be a cheerleader and she was our captain. She was a great leader and so patient helping me learn how to be a good Bison cheerleader. I regret I did not get to see Debby in October when she returned for the homecoming luncheon.
Please accept my sincere condolences. I will pray for you as you grieve for Debby. May your good memories of time with her bring smiles to you and lighten your hearts.


Sharon Bennett Richardson

Sandy Ackerman

December 18, 2019

Stan and I first met Debby while she was on one of her many walks in our neighborhood, and we quickly became friends. She was such a strong woman who loved her family beyond words and had great pride in her sons. Debby and I knew we could share with each other our concerns and joy. One of the benefits of Debby’s friendship was her willingness to share her baking until I would have to tell her to ease up on this gift as Stan and I had started to gain weight! Debby’s strong will carried into her last days and I marveled at her strength and determination. I will so miss Debby but know she now has no pain or worries about her diabetes. I am blessed to have had Debby’s friendship!

Joseph Welch

December 18, 2019

I met Debbie in Sept if 1993 just a short time after she married my dad.She welcomes us all n like we had always been there she was a great mom to us all Ana a even greater wife for my dad.I remember her showing the kids how to make fudge and Cracker Jack in the microwave the kids couldn’t believe it.We always looked forward to our trips to Florida to see them she always made in special in one way or another.Thank you for taking care of dad the way you did and all of us you will surely be missed by all that knew you mom .I know we will meet again mom I love you and miss you

Debra Anderson

December 18, 2019

I had the pleasure of meeting Debby at Jessica (Welch) and Branden Ward's wedding in October. We sat at the dinner table with her and Bill. We had a very nice time conversing with them. It's a shame that her life was cut short. Our prayers and sympathy goes out to all the family.

Darrion Davis

December 17, 2019

Debby had a heart of gold. I always enjoyed talking to her and eating her delicious cookies. She was the sweetest lady. Rest in peace, Debby. You will be missed.

Tom Fiala

December 17, 2019

Debby ran the front office at our practice for many years - and we became close friends with her and Bill. She always had a smile, and a kind word. Despite her medical challenges, she was always one of those positive people - and she was inspiring. And she also made the best gingersnap cookies!
When her heart troubles started, we thought we might lose her then - but she sailed through her transplant, to became Dr. Hill's star patient.
It was a gift to know her, and we were so glad she had 17 extra years after that, and that she got to see her kids and grandchildren grow up and thrive.
Debby - we will miss you terribly.

Love from Tom & Sandy

FROM THE FAMILY