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Robert Henry Winborne Welch Jr.

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Robert Henry Winborne Welch Jr.

Birth
Chowan County, North Carolina, USA
Death
6 Jan 1985 (aged 85)
Winchester, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA Add to Map
Plot
Mount Auburn-Memorial Grounds-0-1
Memorial ID
View Source
Robert Welch is dead at 85 Founded John Birch Society to rid world of communism:- Tuesday, January 8, 1985

WINCHESTER, Mass.(Associated Press) -- Robert H.W. Welch Jr., a candy company executive who founded the ultra-conservative John Birch Society with the aim of ridding the world of communism, has died at the age of 85.

Welch, who led the organization from its founding in 1958 until 1983, died Sunday at a Winchester nursing home. He had been in poor health since suffering a in December 1983.

Born on a farm in Chowan County, N.C., in 1899, Welch entered the University of North Carolina at the age of 12. He later attended the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Law School.

He then entered the candy business, serving as vice president for sales and advertising at the James O. Welch Co. of Cambridge. But Welch's foremost concern was what he saw as the growing strength of communism both overseas and in this country.

After losing a bid for the Republican nomination for Massachusetts lieutenant governor in 1950, Welch launched his own magazine, One Man's Opinion, which now is published as American Opinion. In December 1958, Welch founded The John Birch Society at a meeting attended by 11 other men in Indianapolis.

Welch summarized the society's goals as "less government, more individual responsibility and a better world."

But the controversial group, named for a U.S. Army officer shot by Chinese Communists in 1945, gained notoriety by naming those it felt involved in the so-called communist conspiracy.

Welch once maintained that Americans fell into four categories when it came to communism: "Communists, communist dupes or sympathizers, the uninformed who have yet to be awakened to the communist danger, and the ignorant."

Few were immune from the society's scrutiny. Welch once said President Dwight D. Eisenhower was "a dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy."

In its first 10 years, the Birch Society had up to 100,000 members in 4,000 chapters around the country. John McManus, a spokesman for the society, said membership is now at 50,000.

Under Welch's guidance, the society opened bookstores that distributed books, pamphlets and other anti-communist literature. Welch also produced a 15-minute weekly radio program called "Are You Listening, Uncle Sam?"

Welch ran the society from an unimposing red brick building near his home in Belmont. His book-lined study featured a large world map that charted his view of the communist threat, shading countries in hues of pink and red to denote the degree of communist control. The United States was colored a deep pink, and Welch's goal was to change the map to pure white.

Welch once described his organization as "a militant form of Americanism as opposed to the passive form that most Americans display."

Writing in the society's "Blue Book," Welch said, "It is my fervent hope that the John Birch Society will last for hundreds of years and exert an increasing influence for the temporal good and spiritual enoblement of mankind throughout those centuries."

Welch stepped down as president of the group in March 1983, then serving as its chairman emeritus. He made his last public appearance at the society's 25th anniversary celebration in Indianapolis shortly before his stroke.

Welch is survived by his wife, Marian; sons Hillard and Robert III; and six grandchildren.
Funeral services will be private.
Robert Welch is dead at 85 Founded John Birch Society to rid world of communism:- Tuesday, January 8, 1985

WINCHESTER, Mass.(Associated Press) -- Robert H.W. Welch Jr., a candy company executive who founded the ultra-conservative John Birch Society with the aim of ridding the world of communism, has died at the age of 85.

Welch, who led the organization from its founding in 1958 until 1983, died Sunday at a Winchester nursing home. He had been in poor health since suffering a in December 1983.

Born on a farm in Chowan County, N.C., in 1899, Welch entered the University of North Carolina at the age of 12. He later attended the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Law School.

He then entered the candy business, serving as vice president for sales and advertising at the James O. Welch Co. of Cambridge. But Welch's foremost concern was what he saw as the growing strength of communism both overseas and in this country.

After losing a bid for the Republican nomination for Massachusetts lieutenant governor in 1950, Welch launched his own magazine, One Man's Opinion, which now is published as American Opinion. In December 1958, Welch founded The John Birch Society at a meeting attended by 11 other men in Indianapolis.

Welch summarized the society's goals as "less government, more individual responsibility and a better world."

But the controversial group, named for a U.S. Army officer shot by Chinese Communists in 1945, gained notoriety by naming those it felt involved in the so-called communist conspiracy.

Welch once maintained that Americans fell into four categories when it came to communism: "Communists, communist dupes or sympathizers, the uninformed who have yet to be awakened to the communist danger, and the ignorant."

Few were immune from the society's scrutiny. Welch once said President Dwight D. Eisenhower was "a dedicated, conscious agent of the communist conspiracy."

In its first 10 years, the Birch Society had up to 100,000 members in 4,000 chapters around the country. John McManus, a spokesman for the society, said membership is now at 50,000.

Under Welch's guidance, the society opened bookstores that distributed books, pamphlets and other anti-communist literature. Welch also produced a 15-minute weekly radio program called "Are You Listening, Uncle Sam?"

Welch ran the society from an unimposing red brick building near his home in Belmont. His book-lined study featured a large world map that charted his view of the communist threat, shading countries in hues of pink and red to denote the degree of communist control. The United States was colored a deep pink, and Welch's goal was to change the map to pure white.

Welch once described his organization as "a militant form of Americanism as opposed to the passive form that most Americans display."

Writing in the society's "Blue Book," Welch said, "It is my fervent hope that the John Birch Society will last for hundreds of years and exert an increasing influence for the temporal good and spiritual enoblement of mankind throughout those centuries."

Welch stepped down as president of the group in March 1983, then serving as its chairman emeritus. He made his last public appearance at the society's 25th anniversary celebration in Indianapolis shortly before his stroke.

Welch is survived by his wife, Marian; sons Hillard and Robert III; and six grandchildren.
Funeral services will be private.


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