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Mercedes J. Welch

February 10, 2023 | 5 comments

Mercedes (Leesa) Joann Welch, 93, passed peacefully at home on February 7, 2023. She was born on December 27, 1929 in La Crosse to Almore and Clara Norby. Mercedes grew up the seventh of ten children in Stoddard Wisconsin. She attended Aquinas High School, graduating in 1948. She was employed at Micro-Cards in La Crosse until her marriage to Donald Charles Welch in 1950. Together they raised five children, Kathleen, Barbara, Donald, Timothy and Terrance at the house they built at the foot of Granddad Bluff.

Always the “river rats”, they moved to a home on Cat Gut Slough where they spent over 30 years before Don’s passing in 2012. Mercedes and Don enjoyed the river, wildlife, sunsets and entertaining family and friends in their home, on the beach, on the dock or on the water. She was a wonderful grandmother to her two grandsons. Later, after she won a Caribbean cruise in a grocery store contest, Don and Leesa became avid travelers, enjoying adventures and casinos on much bigger waters.

Mercedes, always known as Leesa to family and friends, was known for her generosity of spirit, her delicately handcrafted embroidery she gifted to many, and for her great gift of letter writing. Her beautiful hand-written cards and letters detailed precious ties with friends, family and neighbors. She was also an avid reader and journalist with decades of daily notes on anything from weather, bills, birds and water levels.

Mercedes is survived by her daughters Kathleen West, of Checotah, OK and Barbara Mason, of La Crosse, WI; son Donald (Connie) M Welch, of La Crosse, WI; Son-in-law Andy Welch: grandsons Brandon (Tiffany) Welch and Eric Welch (Jessica Wartenweiler): great granddaughter Presley; and sisters Bernadine Voss and Arlene Johnston

She was proceeded in death by her husband Donald and her two sons Timothy and Terrance and son-in-law Jim Mason.

We want to give a special thanks to the caring staff at Saint Croix Hospice, and to Leesa’s daughter Barbara and great neighbors Mary, Cathy, Terri and Karen, and all the loving nieces and nephews that reached out.

A funeral Mass will be held at The Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman Church in the Marian Chapel, 530 Main St., La Crosse, on March 10th at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a luncheon after the Mass. Interment will be held at Catholic Cemetery. Condolences may be left at couleecremation.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Cathedral of Saint Joseph the Workman or Saint Croix Hospice.



  1. Chrisanne McGraw

    My condolences to Kathy, who was a classmate and friend of mine from Blessed Sacrament and Aquinas. I was fortunate to visit their home and meet her mom on a couple of different occasions and thought she was one of the sweetest, warmest moms around. So very sorry for your loss.

    • Kathy Welch West

      Thank you for your sweet words Chrisanne. I remember your parents and the fun get-togethers we had at your home. We were lucky kids to have great families and many great memories.

  2. Susan Carlson

    Through out the many years of Doing Leesa’s hair, I got to know a lot about her family.She shared the good times and the bad times.She loved her kids so much.I will miss her gentle smile and her funny personality.She was one of a kind.Rest in peace leesa,my friend.

  3. Daniel Braun

    Sorry to hear of the passing of your mom. Going by what you have said and reading the obituary she must have been an awesome mom. It was fun to bike ride with you through the old neighborhood. There are a lot of good memories there.
    Dan & Liz

  4. MEP

    My condolences to the family and hope their hearts are full of precious memories to sustain them through their adjustment to her absence. I especially want to thank her for her open mind and heart to someone I care about deeply. On wings of love, lovely lady.


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