Linda Welch, a dedicated nurse at Maine Medical Center’s Brighton campus, who advocated for her patients and inspired others by her fight against diabetes, died Tuesday. She was 56.
Mrs. Welch was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 8. As a kid, she spent a lot of time with the nurses and doctors who cared for her. The experience inspired her to become a nurse. She graduated from Scarborough High School in 1975 and Westbrook School of Nursing in 1980.
Mrs. Welch began her career at the Osteopathic Hospital of Maine as an intensive care nurse. The hospital eventually became Maine Medical Center’s Brighton campus. She worked there for more than 15 years.
Debby Dobson, who worked with her for many years, remembered Mrs. Welch as a competent, compassionate and tough nurse, who advocated for her patients.
“She was fabulous,” said Dobson, who now lives in Portland, Ore. “When there was a crisis, you wanted Linda by your side. She was cool and calm in a crisis. She could take over and not fall apart. She was one of the girls. She always got your back. If you needed anything she was there.”
Mrs. Welch also worked at Generations on Brighton Avenue, now InterMed on Marginal Way. When her two children were grown, she became a traveling nurse and worked in different health care facilities across the country. She returned to Maine around 2004 and took a job at MMC’s Scarborough campus. She worked as a recovery nurse for day surgeries.
Mrs. Welch was a loving mother of two children, Sonia Welch, 31, of Old Orchard Beach; and Brian Welch, 30, of Exeter, N.H. On Thursday, her daughter said her mother balanced work and family life and encouraged her children to succeed. She remembered the times her mother climbed into bed with them to help them sleep. She also recalled the years her mother took her to ballet class three times a week and her brother to Nordic ski-jumping practice and competitions in New Hampshire and New York.
“It was his dream to make it to the Olympics. My mother’s goal was to make sure that happened,” her daughter said. “He competed in Salt Lake in 2002. We all went, the whole family.”
Mrs. Welch enjoyed shopping, gardening and spending time with her dog, Allie, a Pomeranian and Chihuahua mix.
Dobson said Mrs. Welch was a good friend and was admired and loved by many people.
“Linda was like the most loyal person you have ever met and would fight for the underdog,” Dobson said. “She was the most determined, stubborn little thing and so tender hearted at the same time. She was a true blue loyal friend. They don’t make them like her anymore.”
Mrs. Welch stopped working in 2010 when her health began to decline. On Friday, doctors told her she had end-stage vascular disease and that she would need both legs amputated. She collapsed Tuesday and stopped breathing, her daughter said. Mrs. Welch had a do-not-resuscitate order.
“I’m relieved she didn’t have to suffer what was to come. Another part of me doesn’t believe she’s gone. I’ll miss her wittiness, one-liners and the times when she would tell me she loved me, for no reason,” her daughter said.
Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: