Peg Welch: In a League of Her Own

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”  -Maya Angelou

Often when we’re young, we’re unable to recognize that we are not the center of everyone else’s universe, where others are in our path only to serve us and our immediate needs.  From those around us, we snatch what we can where we can, like we’re walking the aisles of a grocery store with an empty cart and an empty stomach.  We feed, we grow, and then something miraculous happens–we learn. Life is no longer “The [YOUR NAME HERE] Show”.  We stop catching with two mitts and begin throwing something back. 

To everyone who knew her, Peg Welch was a woman who “threw back” with both hands. From her career as a teacher to her dedication to family, to her loving marriage to Lloyd, Peg found joy and fulfillment in giving her best to those she loved.  And her enormous capacity to give back didn’t just stop at family, it extended to her friends and teammates, too.

Anne Randler recalled a time when she was a new player, and she was working to improve her fielding.  “Peg and I worked on the field until it was almost dark.  She kept saying ‘Again.  Again. Try it again, Annie.’  She wouldn’t give up on me, and she wouldn’t let me give up either.  She believed I could do it, and eventually, I did.”

“To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”  -Reba McEntire

Peg had all three.  In fact, her tenacity was one of her trademarks. A common theme from her friends was that if Peg wanted something done, it got done. Take her love of music.  Peg wasn’t satisfied just singing in the women’s acapella group, The Sun Tones. She wanted to influence the group’s musical approach, and so became one of its Music Directors from late 2014-2016.  Judy Barry, who has sung with The Sun Tones since its inception in 2003 remembers, “Peg was  wonderful as a director, singer, piano player and at the time knowledgeable about teaching devices.” 

On the field, Peg was equally driven. She loved softball and played throughout most of her adult life.  She was a fierce shortstop, demonstrating her skills on the Diamonds Women’s Travel Team and the Saturday League, and helping to manage the Carson Realty team with her close friend Barbara Pearson.  Remembers Barbara, “Even after Peg found out she had cancer, she showed up at practices and didn’t want to let people down.”

Victoria Black recalled, “Peg was an avid player and one tough cookie. Even after Peg was diagnosed with cancer, there were two things that she loved doing – the first was singing and the second was playing softball. She had been undergoing treatment for a couple of years and she wanted to play softball. She came [to practices] when she could and signed up for the newly formed ladies league. She was a woman of strength, determination, and a positive attitude.”

Those who possess steadfast drive and determination could easily overwhelm others.  But not so with Peg.  Her light-hearted spirit and reliable cheerfulness smoothed out the edges that might make others appear rough. Many friends, like Marcia Goettge and Anne Randler found Peg inspirational.  Remembers Anne, “She made you want to work harder than you thought you could.”  Fueled by her passion for the game, Peg worked tirelessly to help her teammates grow in confidence and skill.  

The mark of a true leader is one who supports others to carry on without them.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” –Unknown

Peg’s memory remains bright in the years since her untimely passing.  Her impact on those whose lives she touched was demonstrated by the decision to rename the Women’s League in her honor in 2019. 

“Peg came to the field for photos on Opening Day, November 23rd, 2019. However, at the field, after the team photos were taken, she had a medical emergency and was transported to the hospital and then to her home. Peg passed away on Dec 8, 2019. Because of her dedication, determination, positive attitude, and love of the game, we named the league in her memory.  After Peg was taken to the hospital on that Opening Day, we played because we knew that she would have wanted us to,” Victoria recounted.

In 2023, the Women’s Softball League created an award in her honor:  The Peg Welch Team Spirit Award.  Each season, one player will be selected who best embodies the league’s Code of Conduct and the traits that Peg was best known for:

  • Poise and Leadership
  • Empathy and Support
  • Good Sportsmanship

Right before Peg passed away, she had the opportunity to meet her new grandchild. “She loved her grandchildren, and was so happy to be able to meet her newest before she left us,” said Barbara Pearson. Unlike many of us who had the good fortune to know Peg’s kindness and generosity, her grandchildren will grow up and one day ask, “What was grandma like?”.  This is what they will hear: 

Warm. Caring. Beautiful. Dedicated. Talented. Musical. Religious. Loving. Friend.

The people who knew Peg best and loved her most might sum her up this way: Peg understood that to be happy you needed to catch life with one hand and throw back with the other.

Peg Welch is front row, third from right. 

Peg Welch tribute video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LokyPgXA-E