Sarah Judith "Judy" Welch


Sarah Judith “Judy” Welch, 87, of Shelbyville, passed away Wednesday, December 8, 2021, in Center.

Funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m., Saturday, December 11, 2021, at Watson & Sons Funeral Home in Center with visitation an hour prior.  Interment will follow at Rather Cemetery in Shelbyville.

Born February 12, 1934, in Beaumont, Judy is the daughter of Andrew Charles Sobert and Hattie Perkins Sobert. Raised in south Louisiana, Judy would later earn her R.N. degree from the School of Nursing at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It was while completing her training in Shreveport that she was introduced to Jim Welch by lifelong friends Bill and Dee Wiggins. Jim and Judy were married in 1956 and established their family in Dallas, Texas, where, over a span of six years, she would give birth to four sons.

In 1970, the family traded the Dallas suburbs for a small country store in southeastern Shelby County, where Welch's Grocery and Big Jim's Gun Shop provided gas and groceries for the Dreka, Possum Trot, and Goober Hill community. Judy was the heart of her family and their business -- always serving -- with genuine kindness and good humor, along with the occasional dose of nursing wisdom and skill.


After the closing of the store and Jim's subsequent death, Judy returned to nursing as a home health case managing R.N.  She also would soon embrace wholeheartedly her new favorite name, "Nana," and all that came with that special relationship.


In retirement she continued to serve, this time as "Momma Sunshine" to son Roy, helping run the shop and making deliveries for Sunshine Flowers & Gifts in Joaquin. She loved being the bearer of comfort and cheer to those who would receive someone's thoughtful expression of kindness, because that truly was her heart.


Throughout all of the good times and bad that come with a long life, Judy remained a steady example of grace and kindness to all who knew her. Her memory and that legacy are a blessing.

She is survived by her sons, Gordon Andrew Welch and wife Debbie of Shelbyville and William Roy Welch of Shelbyville; granddaughter, Elaina Welch Fitzgerald of Levelland; and brother, Paul Rogers Sobert of Richmond, Virginia.  

Preceded in death by husband, James Bird Welch; sons, James Nathan Welch and Norman Boyd Welch; and brother, Andrew C. Sobert.

Online condolences & tributes can be sent at

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