SOUTH PORTLAND — Frances “Louise” Reynolds Welch, 91, died Nov. 18 after a long illness while surrounded by her loving family.

On May 13, 1919, she was born in South Portland, the daughter of Charles Edward and Bertha Viola Arey Reynolds and attended local schools, graduating from South Portland High School in 1937.

During World War II, she worked as a bookkeeping machine operator at Maine Steel, Inc. The company gave her a “Victory Bike” to travel to and from work, which she proudly kept the rest of her life.

Later on she worked as a secretary at the Harris Oil Company before becoming the personal secretary to the manager at the Automobile Mutual Insurance Company in Portland.

On April 17, 1950, she married John Paul Welch and was happily married for 60 years.

A longtime homemaker, she enjoyed time with her family, her daily 3-1/2 mile walk with her beloved lhasa apso, “Tippy,” and dining at the Clambake Restaurant in Scarborough.

An avid flower gardener, she especially enjoyed her favorite flower, the mayflower. Her other hobbies included birding, reading and writing under a pen name, “Wildwood.”

She was courageous, strong and always filled with a quiet optimism, even in the worst of times. Her favorite expression was, “keep your attitude in the altitude.”

She was predeceased by her two brothers, Charles and John, and three sisters, Irene, Thelma and Bertha.

Surviving are her beloved and devoted husband of 60 years, John Paul Welch; two children, son Gregory P. Welch and wife Robin Welch of South Portland, and daughter Lynn L. Welch of Hilton Head Island, S.C.; two nephews, Charles Reynolds and wife Dottie Reynolds of Middleton, N.H., and Roy Gustafson, and a niece, Cheryl Gustafson of Walpole, Mass.; and her very special lifelong friend, Margaret Hogan of South Portland.

There will be a private family service. Interment will be in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the hard-working staff at Maine Medical Center, Intermed, Sea Side Healthcare, Cardiovascular Consultants of Maine, Home Health Visiting Nurses and Hospice of Southern Maine for their wonderful care and compassion. Also, many thanks are given to her good friend and hairdresser, Janice Parvin.

Memorial contributions can be made to the World Wildlife Fund online at

Arrangements by the Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland.

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