WELCH, William E. "Billy" 18, of Springfield, died December 7, 1941 aboard the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Billy was born on November 7, 1923 in Springfield, Ohio. He was one of nine children born to Martin R. and Mary (Mullee) Welch. He attended Catholic Central High School and left school shortly after he turned 17 to join the
. Billy was aboard the USS Oklahoma on December 7, 1941 when it was the first ship hit by three Japanese torpedoes. He was one of 429 crew members who died that day when the ship sank in Battleship Row. Eighteen months after the attack the ship was righted and the crew was eventually laid to rest as unknowns in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in 1949. In 2015 the US Navy began identification and notification procedures to return the soldiers home. Billy was returned to his family in August 2016. Survivors of Billy's include two sisters, Carolyn Ryan, Kettering, OH and Ann & Dante Ianni, Springfield, OH and Sister-In-Law Susan Welch, Warren, Ohio. Also deceased are Billy's parents and six siblings, Raymond (Sue) Welch, Alice Welch, Helen (Tom) Hannon, Patricia (Billy) Wilson, Thomas Welch and John "Jack" Welch, Brother-In-Law Paul Ryan. Numerous nieces and nephews are, Michael Welch (deceased), Helen Frances Welch, Pat Welch, William Edward "Bill" Hannon, Tom Hannon, Tony Hannon, Sue Hannon King, Kathy Wilson Walsh, Carolyn Wilson Kellermeyer, Colleen Wilson, Mike Ryan, Tim Ryan, Pat Ryan Bergljung, William "Bill" Ryan, Julie Ryan Bennett, Maureen Ryan McLaughlin, Tom Welch, Kathy Welch Perisa, Sue Ann Welch (deceased), William Edward "Bill" Welch, Dr. Bridget Welch Wagner (deceased), John Joseph Welch, John Dante Ianni. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at St. Joseph Catholic Church. He will be laid to rest alongside his parents in Calvary Cemetery, with full military honors. The family is being served by CONROY FUNERAL HOME.