Don was a devoted Christian who loved God, his family, and life. Married for 40 years, he looked forward to spending his retirement with his best friend, lover, and soulmate, Sandy.
He was a positive role model to his children and was excited to teach his four-year-old son how to be a good man, ride a bike, surf, play hockey, and someday restore a ’66 Chevelle together. He anticipated the day he would walk his two daughters down the aisle and give them away in hopes they and their spouses would together experience the same joy in their lives that he had. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Don was a strong believer in Jesus Christ. He did not push his faith onto others but showed it in how he lived his life. On his days off, he could be found studying his Bible every morning outside while the sun rose. Before leaving for his work shift, he would drop to his knees at the foot of the stairs and ask God for protection for his family. When Don realized he was not going to beat the illness that would take his life, he did what he always did—he thought of others. He asked for prayer from the Church prayer chain, not for him but rather for his family: “My cancer is back, and the prognosis is not good. Please pray for my wife to draw close to God for strength and guidance, and please pray for my two daughters to look toward the Lord as well.”
Fearless and up for any challenge, Don especially loved being on his surfboard in the ocean waiting for the perfect set or on the ice playing hockey.
Appointed to the LAFD on November 24, 1988, Don achieved certs in swift water and HAZMAT along the road to the rank of engineer. He received commendation for his involvement in the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, participated in both (2002 & 2005) Los Angeles Metrolink train crash USAR rescue operations and firefighting/rescue efforts during the 2008 Sayre Fire. His prowess at the pump panel was second to none, but like everything else in life, he took it all in stride. Age and the stresses of being a first responder never turned the hair on the top of his head gray, but you couldn’t say that about his mustache. And much to the chagrin of many an LAFD chief officer, Don let his mustache grow as long as it would!
Don Welcker, an honest man of integrity whose passions were faith and family, loved life, and he lived big. His passing has left a tremendous void in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. Although he is greatly missed, we gain comfort in knowing that he no longer suffers and is surfing the clouds of Heaven while waiting for us to join him.