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Patrick Karl Welch, 51, of Richmond Hill, Georgia and husband of Aura Ayn Ackerman Welch, died Wednesday afternoon, October 7, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Patrick was of the Jewish faith. 31 years ago he and Aura met at Kagan’s Bar in New Orleans and have been together since meeting. Patrick earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Armstrong Atlantic State University, and was near completing the requirements for his doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. He was certified to teach all subjects and taught special education and coached football, wrestling and lacrosse at Richmond Hill Middle School. Patrick loved to learn about education and seeking answers was always important to him. He enjoyed wrestling, football, lacrosse, and for 35 years riding his motorcycle. Patrick was a great cook and also enjoyed watching LSU football. He will be remembered most for his love for his family, especially their three sons, for being a very affectionate person, and for being a friend to everyone.

He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Dr. Larry L. Ackerman, and his mother, Linda Marie Wyatt McDonald.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Aura Ayn Ackerman Welch; three sons, Nathan Patrick Welch, Jacob Ryan Welch, and Mikkel Kagan Welch; his sisters, Donna Swikow and her husband, David, and Lewanna Boyd and her husband, Otis; his brother, Ron Kalna; his mother-in-law, Lynda Ruth Salov Ackerman; his sister-in-law, Nova Ackerman; his brother-in-law, David Ackerman and his wife, Kathy, and his nieces and nephews, Skylar, Snow, Silver, Harry and Hailey.

The funeral service will be held at 11 o’clock Sunday morning, October 11, 2020, at the graveside, Greenwich section of Bonaventure Cemetery, conducted by Rabbi Robert W. Haas.

In keeping with Patrick’s heart and love for helping others, the family suggests in lieu of flowers you make memorials to the Richmond Hill Middle School Wrestling and Lacrosse Teams – 503 Warren Hill Road, Richmond Hill, Georgia 31324.

Online Condolences

  1. Mary Ann Tiedemann says:

    It is overwhelming to hear of the loss of one of Richmond Hill’s finest. Patrick, I knew you by the the smiles on the faces of your children and wife ,Aura. My heart goes out to the family. Aura, my prayers are with you.

  2. Beth Childress says:

    Patrick was my student for many years in the SPED program at the former Armstrong campus, and he was one of the few we knew was destined to be loved by his class and those around him. He was made of that rare quality required to work with special education children because of his gentleness and kindness. The shock of his death is beyond comprehension. Aura, I can only offer you my deepest sympathy and hope you know how much your husband was respected by those who taught him.

  3. David Shultz says:

    It was my privilege to work with Patrick the last 5 years. He was loved by his athletes and was a phenomenal coach. He had a talent for working with kids who lacked confidence. Patrick built their confidence by helping them understand their worth and how vital their talents and abilities were to the team. He developed student athletes that displayed character and sportsmanship whether they won or lost. Patrick will be greatly missed at RHMS. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and sons who he cherished!

  4. Elizabeth Bennett says:

    Patrick will be so missed. He was such a large part of our RHMS family. His students, athletes and co-workers adored him. He was passionate and driven and worked to make sure his students were given the best. His legacy will live on at RHMS through the athletic programs he built and students whose lives he touched.
    Sending love to Aura and the boys.

  5. Sandy Denius says:

    Patrick and I started working at the Middle School the same year. He has always had such a presence that will truly be missed. He had an overwhelming following in the wrestling community and inspired so many students to work hard and try new things. My deepest sympathies to his family. Continued prayers for you all.

  6. Tom Corbin says:

    I have had the good fortune to work alongside Patrick for the last 4 years building the Lacrosse Programs at the High School and Middle School. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. He was always available to assist when ever needed. We practiced side by side not having around will leave a huge hole in our community. I believe that 90% of High School Lacrosse players at RH were coached by Coach Welch. His impact on our student athletes is far reaching.

    We love you and your entire family!

  7. Coach Boone says:

    i had the privilege of working/coaching with Coach Welch for several years, and enjoyed every second of it. He had a special way of reaching kids/players that no one else could reach. A great coach has way of earning his players respect, and Coach Welch was loved and respected by all his players.
    My heart goes out to Aura, Nathan, Jacob and Mikkel, but you guys can rest assured that the man you called husband and daddy will always be loved and missed, because he was loved by so many.
    RIP Coach, we love you!!!!

  8. Danielle Ennis says:

    RHMS and I will forever remember Coach Welch. Never have I ever met a more passionate man. His love for what he did every single day was inspiring. He has touched so many lives and that impact will be everlasting. The way he connected with his players was one of a kind. Welch family you are in my thoughts and prayers. With such a great loss comes such utter sorrow, but I hope you can find comfort in knowing how loved and missed Patrick will be.

  9. Jamie Bennett says:

    I was fortunate to coach alongside Coach Welch for 7 football seasons and really enjoyed being on the same staff as him. Anyone who knows Coach Welch knows that he LOVES 3 things: his family, his athletes, and LSU football. I got to see him love his three sons as they came through the middle school. I got to see him love his athletes as he coached 3 sports, year in and year out. Of course we all got to see him love his LSU Tigers EVERY football season. I am honored to have worked and coached with him. His energy, positivity, and kindness will be missed forever here at RHMS. But we all know that those traits will live on forever because he passed those traits down to his family and the athletes that he impacted. We love you here at RHMS and I hope that you rest in peace friend.

  10. Whittaker Family says:

    I had the chance to become friends with Coach over the last several years. He coached both of my boys and the impact he has had on their lives was tremendous! I have watched him take the most awkward Middle Schooler and help them develop a confidence they will carry for life. As much as I am going to miss Coach and the conversations we would have, I feel bad for those that will never get the chance to have his influence in their lives. What an honor to have had a husband and a father that so many thought so much up. Aura and boys, you were lucky! I hope Nathan, Jacob, and Mikkel know how highly he spoke of you any chance he got! He was so proud of all you boys accomplished. If there was something his boys were interested in and wanted to do, Coach would start the program!

    This is a life taken FAR too soon! His is a legacy that will not be forgotten.

    Our family is thinking of all of you and praying for you!

  11. Patricia J Leon says:

    My heart sank when I heard the news. My prayers to Aura and the children. He was a special person who will be missed. Much love from your former Derby Devil teammate (Eada Chiquita) – Patty.

  12. Scott Strickland says:

    It’s was an honor and a privilege to coach/work with Pat. He was never to busy to do anything for anyone. His extreme love for his students and players was seen by anyone that ever had the privilege to share the field with him. Pat’s passion for excellence in success will continue to echo through the halls of RHMS. Sending love and compassion to Aura, Nathan, Jacob and Mikkel. He was loved and will be missed dearly!

  13. Dennis Moore says:

    You will surely be missed my friend! Rest in Peace. I can picture you now at the pearly gates with Eddie Van Halen. If I know you, you will likely have a sarcastic remark to share with him!

  14. Daniel Foster says:

    It is so difficult to put into words of how Coach Welch will be missed. Coach Welch was one of the nicest, down to earth people I have ever met. It was always such a joy to talk with him about music of all kinds as we both shared a passion for music. He also had a special connection to his students and you could tell how much of an impact he had on his students. He will be missed by all of us and I send my deepest condolences to his family during this time. We’ll miss you, Coach Welch!!!

  15. Bridgett Sharp says:

    I’ve only known Patrick for two years being new to the school and area. I could tell right away he had a big personality and a love for the kids. Just a couple weeks ago he was kind enough to talk with me about choices I’ll face as a mom with my own son, and I appreciated his insight. He will be sourly missed here at the school. Our students, student athletes, and our faculty and staff will carry on all he started, but he will be missed so very much.

    My prayers are with his wife, children, and family.

  16. Ryan Books says:

    I was lucky enough to work alongside Coach Welch for the past 5 years at RHMS. Anyone that knew Coach knew that he was passionate about many things, but nothing compared to the love he had for his wife and 3 boys. I will miss our daily chats about football and I am grateful for the time we shared and the many great conversations we had. Coach Welch’s legacy will live on forever here in the Richmond Hill community.
    Rest easy, friend.

  17. Jacob Oliver says:

    I was a wrestler for Coach Welch and a lacrosse player for him too. He was a father figure to all of us wrestlers and lacrosse and football players. He would do anything for you if you asked him to. Once you had his trust you had it forever. I will never forget the lessons he taught me and I promised him I would get a scholarship for lacrosse. We all love you coach. Rest easy.

  18. Don & Pam Krompak says:

    Dear Aura and Kids,
    We are very saddened for your loss. Patrick was a wonderfully friendly and generous man. Our hearts and prayers are with Patrick, you and all of your loved ones.
    Pam and Don Krompak

  19. Hank Family says:

    Many thoughts and prayers to you Aura and your boys, we hope you can soon find comfort in the impact Patrick left on all those who journeys crossed. Thinking of you all!

  20. Nikki Lukkarinen says:

    Patrick will be missed by so many. HIs impact goes far beyond the classroom. The number of athletes he has coached and impacted is immeasurable. The lessons they received from Patrick will be lifelong. What an honor to have worked with him and gotten to see this firsthand. Prayers to Aura and the family. I pray that you know how much we are lifting you up right now.

  21. Sara Kornegay says:

    My sweet Aura, my heart aches for you and those precious boys. I don’t feel like there are words to express how sad I am for your family. I love you and I am praying for you all.

  22. Roger Stein says:

    Aura, Nathan, Jacob, and Mikkel,

    There are no words that can express the sorrow. The dedication Patrick displayed in all he did was inspirational. It was an honor and privilege to start the wrestling program and the TechCats with him. I have thought of him often and it always makes me smile. He was so full of mischief; I’m surprised we didn’t get into trouble . Fran and I send our thoughts and prayers.

  23. Diane Barry says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss.

  24. Norma Royals says:

    Patrick always spoke to me when I passed him in the cafeteria on my way to play a chorus concert. He was genuine. Anyone who met him must have known that immediately. I grieve with you Aura and with Nathan, Jakob, and Mikel. Blessings and peace on you now and the rest of your days

  25. Colleen kirchem says:

    Patrick was my friend. Although we haven’t kept up, in my mind, he is my friend. We shared an incredible time in our lives together. So much love to you, Aura, and your family.

  26. Robert & Sharon Locke says:

    Mrs. Welch and your son’s. Our heart’s are heavy and our prayers go out to each one of you for the Lord to strengthen you through this hard time. Words can never calm the pain you feel but please remember when you think of Patrick just remember when thougth’s become memories, memories become treasures. And that’s something no one can take away. God Bless You all.

  27. Zachary White & Family says:

    I was a former lacrosse player for Coach Welch. He was a very good coach and mentor to his players and students. I will miss him, but will always value his friendship and guidance.
    Prayers to Jacob & Mikkel.

  28. The Cheek family says:

    Dear Aura and family,
    We are so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Patrick. Please know that you and your 3 sons are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time. May God wrap his arms around you and give you strength and comfort in the days ahead.
    All our love,
    Jason, Crystal, Kodi, Madison, and Jaqlynn Cheek

  29. Timothy Mantooth says:

    Patrick and I shared many conversations over the past 3 years. No one had to guess where he stood on an issue. He didn’t mind challenging the pervasive politics of education and operated on practicality rather than theory. We shared a love for serving the underserved and easily ignored and a fondness for riding free in the open air. He is missed yet always remembered.

  30. Bob H says:

    My man, the Ragin’ Cajun. You were passionate but calm. You were never easily rattled. You had a great sense of humor. You were a great conversationalist. You helped kids become the best version of themselves as a coach and a teacher. That is your legacy. Your heart, your passion, your spirit lives on through them. Rest in peace, brother.

  31. Sharleen and Tom Cullen says:

    Dear Aura, Jacob, Nathan and Mikkel, Our Deepest Sympathy prayers & love with you all……Only though we met Patrick one afternoon we felt his remarkable genuine beauty shining brightly that day…..:.. & will continue in your hearts forevermore !..Amen

  32. Brooks Family says:

    Welch Family,
    Patrick gave us all an example to follow, we strive on a daily basis to be as great a spouse, parent and teacher that he will always be. We should strive on our best day’s to be even close to his example of a human being that he was every single day. The impacts he’s had on the community and with the teachers, coaches, students, and athletes in Richmond Hill can never be defined. Knowing Patrick, he is with you all forever, you will always have his love and the love of so many in RH. Remain strong, and think of the smiles that he gave us all. Forever missed, forever loved, never forgotten. And, always Remember, RH will always love Team Welch.

  33. Lance says:

    I knew Pat in the early 90s in New Orleans when we were all definitely a little rough around the edges so to read about what a great father and educator he became and what an impact he had on people is pretty amazing despite the horrible circumstance. Condolences to his family, friends and students.

  34. Allen Cox says:

    Unbelievable that I’m doing this Tiger…Such a passionate Man that thoroughly enjoyed what he did. My friend you had such a positive impact in so many lives that you had no idea. The lessons that you taught will cycle and cycle for years beyond our imagination. If we all had just an ounce of what you poured out each and everyday this time we live in would be such a better place. One thing for sure Tiger, those three young men of yours will not let you down, nor will that beautiful, caring, smiling wife of yours. You framed that smile on her beautiful face and that presence those three young men reflect. We will not be able to replace you but those student/athletes you molded will carry on your program that YOU built YOUR WAY, the RIGHT WAY! A Job Well Done Tiger! You Went Out On Top…Just The Way You Would Have Wanted To! You Rest Now Tiger…We Got This, Because That’s The Way You Taught Us!….LSU #1!

  35. Allen Cox says:

    One more thing Tiger. We’ll top that bus off for you, one more time…it’ll be ready when you get here!

  36. Jim West says:

    So sorry I met Pat at David and Kathy Sherman’s on a weekend while visiting from Alabama. He was designated to cook the low country boil. I stood at the front of the house and watch as he made the magic happen. What did become was a friend to a guy I had never met before. One meeting and talked a over and hour just standing on the porch. He was truly one of the nicest people I have ever met. A big man with a big heart and easy personality. I will remember him as that guy akways. Those that haf more time with him I know will miss him dearly and I pray for your healing to ease you pain. Without a doubt. He is in heaven. My condolences to the family.

  37. Troy Ford and Family says:

    He was such a great mentor, coach, teacher etc.. the list goes on. Such a horrible loss but a tremendous gain in heaven. Coach Welch will truly be missed. So grateful for the positive impact you had on my son Troy and Daughter Gabriela!

  38. Rob Casella says:

    We have been fortunate enough to know the Welch family since the days of little league baseball when our sons were on numerous teams with Jacob and Mikkel. Our boys then moved on to lacrosse with Jacob and Mikkel. Patrick was always present as a fan, coach, friend and father. Aura has always been there as a mother, friend, fan, and photographer. Patrick cheered on and coached our boys as if they were his own. He had the unique skill of knowing not only when a player needed a coach’s instruction, but also when a player needed a father’s warmth and guidance. He had an infectious smile and always had a great story to share. His enthusiasm and warm personality will be greatly missed. We are grateful that he was a part of our lives. We will miss our friend.
    Rob, Mindi, Garner and Grant Casella.

  39. Sherry Moore says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I send thoughts and prayers of comfort for Coach Welch’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.

  40. Hill Family says:

    I am reading all of the messages and am finding out how much Coach Welch impacted the lives of those around him. When you were talking to him he gave you his all, and treats you like family, so this is not surprising. We were new to the area and he was a large part of helping us through our transition above and beyond just being a wrestling coach. We will forever remember our time with Coach Welch and will keep his family and friends in our thoughts.
    Robert, Christine, Bradley(Iowa), Erin, Connor Hill

  41. Cindy Pinion says:

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved husband Patrick! You and your boys have my deepest condolences, and please know that I have been keeping (and will continue to keep) all of the family in my thoughts and prayers!!

  42. Tammy Luke and Family says:

    Patrick, Aura, and each of their wonderful boys are a part of the fabric of this community, and each of them have touched so many of us. We have so many memories of him and his family. They have all been a blessing to us. The Luke family is deeply saddened by the loss of Patrick. He will be missed and remembered by us all. I know RHMS will not be the same. We will continue to pray for Aura, the boys, his family, and friends.

  43. Michael Mosier says:

    I had the privilege of talking with Coach Welch while waiting on a bus so I could take the football team to the Homecoming game. There we were in the parking lot by now what I’ll call “The Tree of Knowledge” we talked SEC football, lacrosse, wasslin, and archery. He was so proud that we had started Archery at RHMS. He talked about yet another opportunity for students to get out and try something new and to be part of a team. He always put his students first and would do anything for them. I told him I was about to go on a trip out west to visit my son. We talked about taking days off, I remember when I first started he told me that we get 10 days a year so might as well use them. He said since his beloved LSU Tigers weren’t allowing fans at games this year that he was going for perfect attendance. With that he thought he would go home and change into shorts for the Homecoming game since it was so hot and headed off for his last ride. It’s been a pleasure knowing you Rest Easy Friend.

  44. Debbie Rice-Reagan says:

    The measure of a man is not how large he lives, but how large and how wide his impact because he lived. I have such deep respect for Patrick, my fellow teacher at Richmond Hill Middle School. I witnessed so many positive changes in so many young lives. I just commented to Patrick last week about the nearly miraculous and instant change I noticed in one student when he began to work with him. In his humble and unassuming way, Patrick simply said, “Isn’t that what’s supposed to happen?” I offer my prayers for peace and comfort for his beloved family.

  45. The Martin Family says:

    Aura, Jacob, and Family,
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this most difficult time. We are so devastated for you all and for our community. Patrick was a wonderful person, teacher, coach and mentor. We are so thankful to him for being an inspiring role model to Jackson throughout his middle school years and beyond. We will forever be grateful to him and remember the student astronaut days with such fondness.
    ~ Chris, Cara, Jackson, and Cate

  46. The Sergi's says:

    Much love and peace to the Welch and Ackerman family.

  47. The Kelly’s says:

    Mr. Welch was an amazing person who had a heart of gold for anyone he came across. Every morning he would help my brother get off the bus and help him into the school. When I was a substitute at RHMS, I saw his kindness displayed towards everyone he talked to and had a way to reach his students. We had many discussions in that short time period but he taught me so many invaluable lessons that I use now as a teacher. Condolences to his entire family and his family at RHMS
    The Kelly’s
    Stefanie, John, Jordan, Logan, Kya, Brianna & Ethan

  48. The Drayton Family says:

    My Son Savyion had the pleasure to wrestle with him last year. He would run home and tell us how coach Welch would pick him to wrestle and we would ask well what happened? And every time of course he would say I lost and would laugh. Savyion told me that he said it’s not how big your Opponent is, but how you handle them. It was of first year wrestling last year but coach told him to keep trying and don’t give up you will get it. Family was number one to him and he understood and made that know, And he love to each and every student and he would be deeply missed. To his family were praying for your peace And know THE HILL is behind you.

  49. Alyssa Radnoczi says:

    Coach Welch was a kind, funny, and very helpful man.I was very fortunate to know him. I did Science Olympiad with him and when I was in 6th and 7th grade something went wrong with my projects. Thankfully, Coach Welch was there. He gladly helped me and without him my projects were toast. Coach Welch was an amazing mentor and teacher. When I learned of his passing, I cried so much and I pray his family is doing okay in their time of mourning. I want to send my love, peace, and condolences to the family of this wonderful man.
    Alyssa Radnoczi

  50. Mary Crippen says:

    Patrick and my life are intertwined through my teaching his sons, our tenure within the ESS department, Student Astronaut Challenge, Space Camp, creating the RHMS Lacrosse programs, and our desire to change the world. Throughout all of these endeavors, Patrick and I have seen each other at our best and our worst, and remained friends.

    Patrick was fiercely competitive and an amazing story teller. In case you hadn’t heard from Patrick, his band opened up for Green Day. 🙂

    Throughout all of this, I keep reflecting back to a few very specific memories with Patrick: his support of my husband and I when we became foster parents. Patrick’s parents had been foster parents. I was nervous about my biological son, raising someone else’s children and some extreme behavior that I have never encountered before. Patrick gave me lots of practical advice, lots of laughs and a listening ear while Tim and I tried to keep our heads above water.

    Patrick was great at coming up with ideas and recruiting you to help him make these ideas a reality – hence my involvement in Space Camp and Lacrosse. Did you know that only 200 teachers worldwide a year are chosen for Space Camp? It is a tremendous honor that is repaid in sharing that knowledge with others. Patrick, Susie Reed and I set out to create a Space Camp trip at RHMS. This trip fueled a fire, along with the mentorship of John Melcher, Cheryl Flanagan and Patrick, to create a National Championship RHMS Student Astronaut Team. Being in Orlando, with Patrick when Jacob and his team won was amazing and will always be a cherished memory of a great group of kids and teachers.

    Finally there is lacrosse. Patrick said “let’s start a club, the community will help out, we will write a grant, practice 2 times a week for 6 weeks….it will be great.” Patrick helped me write the grant, loaned his own personal equipment to the girls team the first year, walked down with me to recruit Kellie Hackney to coach, and acted as a liaison with the Savannah LowLax League and RHMS. Our program has taught over 300 RHMS students lacrosse, dominated regionally and spawned travel lacrosse teams in the area.

    Patrick was very passionate and had a zest for life and “don’t tell me I can’t do” mentality that led to many great programs here at RHMS. We are a STEM school now. We are expanding our school to create additional spaces for STEM classes and yet when Patrick started at RHMS there was none of that. He and fellow teacher, Roger Stein, created the TEC CAT program which led to Mr. Melcher’s STEM program, our Science Olympiad team, our Student Astronaut Challenge team and our Future Cities teams.

    I need to find some shining light on this tragedy and thinking back on all that Patrick helped create here at RHMS helps me to believe that he will always be with us.

    My deepest condolences to Aura, Nathan, Jacob and Mikkel. You were his world.

  51. Daniel Skidmore-Hess says:

    Patrick was a good and gracious man, a dear friend, so full of life and joy. May he memory be for a blessing and his family and friends find comfort at this time.

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