William Henry Welch Jr., emeritus faculty member at the University of Nevada-Reno, died in a hospice on June 3 of Parkinson’s disease and cancer. He was 80 years old.
Welch, known to his friends as Bill, was born in 1940 in Hollywood, California to William Henry Sr. and Lola Ellsworth Welch. The family moved to Altadena, where Welch spent years enjoying the beauty of nature and surrounding parks, as well as the waves of the Pacific.
William Henry Welch Jr.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and met his future wife, Marcy Delaney. After graduating, Welch went to the University of Kansas to get his doctorate. He and Marcy married in 1965. The couple then moved with their son William III to Boston for the Welch Postdoctoral Fellowship at Brandeis University.
Welch was later offered a tenure-track chair in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Nevada-Reno, which he took. At Reno, he conducted decades of research and served as a biochemistry advisor in the undergraduate research program sponsored by the National Institute of Health School of Medicine.
Welch is best known for his use of computational techniques to study the molecular basis of the interaction of ryanoids with ryanodine receptors and their associated biological function. Its molecular modeling has contributed to efforts beyond this system to assess the structural-functional relationship of other proteins, such as hormones and enzymes, including those found in the venom of the Mojave rattlesnake.
His family obituary says Welch had a genuine love for the beauty of the natural world and often took his family on car or RV trips to national parks. He was a ski coach at the Sky Tavern just outside Reno and trained others as a member of the West Truckee Meadows Citizens Advisory Council, during which time he advocated for development. of West Reno in order to conserve and preserve access to these public lands.
He is survived by his wife, Marcy; children Bill, Deborah, Emily and Gregory; grandsons Colin, Gabriel and Tristan; and his brother David.