Jeff Welker, 65, of Maryville, died at 9:53 p.m. Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, in the emergency room at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.
He was born on Nov. 12, 1949, in Wood River, the son of the late Leslie and Beatrice (Brown) Welker. He married the former Cindy Nowak on Aug. 22, 2008, in Roxana at the Charles Raich Memorial Football Field and she survives. Other survivors include one daughter: Kristy Ann Welker of Roxana, his stepchildren, Don Nowak of Wood River, Amanda Nowak of Maryville and David Nowak of Maryville; two grandchildren, Shawn James Fulton and Gabriella Welker; one sister and brother-in-law, Leslie and Dana Rigsbey of Wood River; a nephew, David Rigsbey of Wood River; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Michael and Kelly Ann Rozmin of Oklahoma City, Okla., a sister-in-law, Michelle Gordon of Huntley, Ill.; a nephew, Adam Palmquist; and a niece, Margaret Palmquist, all survive.
He was employed at Roxana Community School District No. 1 as a history teacher for 37 ½ years. Among other awards, he was the recipient of the Silver Medallion Teacher of the Year, Illinois State Historical Society Teacher of the Year and the Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award. Jeff was a Civil War re-enactor for 18 years. He was the History Club sponsor at Roxana High School. He started the football program at Bunker Hill High School. At Roxana, he coached football, girls’ basketball and the weight-lifting program. Jeff was instrumental in helping a lot of men and women join the military because of his guidance. He taught about the Holocaust adult education classes at Roxana. For many years, he attended the First Baptist Church in Roxana.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a niece, Lori Kay Rigsbey.
In celebration of his life, visitation will be 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, at the Larry Milazzo Gymnasium at Roxana High School. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, at the Larry Milazzo Gymnasium at Roxana High School. The Rev. Mike Stark will officiate. Burial will follow at Rose Lawn Memory Gardens in Bethalto.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the Roxana Schools Foundation to be earmarked for the football or weight-lifting programs, the Wounded Warrior Project or to the family. .
Online guestbook available at www.pitchfordfuneralhome.com.
Pitchford Funeral Home in Wood River is in charge of arrangements.