NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 4, 2012

A tribute to devotion

Memorial plaque honors longtime Anna Jaques volunteer

BY DYKE HENDRICKSON
STAFF WRITER

---- — NEWBURYPORT — One of Anna Jaques Hospital’s most valued part-time volunteers was accorded permanent honor yesterday when a plaque was dedicated to the late Donna May Oberlin Welch.

Welch died in April after spending close to four decades aiding the medical organization in fundraising and with hospitality efforts.

The plaque was placed outside the gift shop, where Welch had contributed many hours.

Welch was well-known in this community and her dedication to Anna Jaques Hospital was an inspiration to many, hospital officials said.

“Donna gave so much time to the hospital,” said Mary Zerigian, president of the Anna Jaques Hospital Aid Association. “She was a leader in fundraising, in bake sales and with the most recent cookbook, “HOSPITALity.

“It’s appropriate that this plaque is located outside the gift shop, where she spent so much time and made it a great success.”

The handsome plaque was given by the Moseley Fund for Social Services and the Anna Jaques Hospital Aid Association. Friends and family contributed more than $11,000 in memorial gifts, hospital officials said.

Anna Jaques President and CEO Delia O’Connor was on hand for the dedication that was attended by numerous friends, employees, board members and hospital volunteers.

Welch was married to Josiah Welch, local business executive and a prominent community leader.

Hospital officials yesterday recalled that a fund-raising official had visited the Welch family in recent years, and suggested that a $50,000 contribution would greatly aid the facility.

It was reported that Donna Welch paused and said, “We won’t give $50,000, but we will provide $100,000.”

The following message appears on the plaque in tribute to Donna May Oberlin Welch:

“A recognition of many years of service in the Anna Jaques Hospital Aid Association, and countless hours in the gift shop. Mrs. Welch was also president of the Aid Association for four terms, helped initiate its most successful annual fund-raising effort, Great Chefs’ Night, and worked indefatigably at the bake sales and on the most recent cookbook, `HOSPITALity.’ She served as a distinguished volunteer for 40 years (1970-2010) and as a corporator from 1976 until her death in 2012.

“This plaque is raised in her honor, signifying her contribution to the Aid Association and the hospital where she spent so much time and love.”