Her life was about family, history and helping out

Appreciation: Arland Welch, 85

By John and Judy Tole

Arland Welch, 85, who passed away on Tuesday (Aug. 6), was a gracious southern lady who lived life to the fullest. Her interests were many and varied but always centered around contributing to her family and the Rappahannock community, especially her beloved village of Flint Hill.

For more than 50 years, she had numerous volunteer roles for the Flint Hill Fire Department and worked with her contemporaries in the Ladies Auxiliary to ensure the success of the fireman’s carnival year after year.

Arland Welch socializes on the lawn in period dress at a Rappahannock Historical Society fundraiser at Jessamine Hill in 2007.
Arland Welch socializes on the lawn in period dress at a Rappahannock Historical Society fundraiser at Jessamine Hill in 2007.

Volunteering at the Rappahannock Historical Society was another of her loves. She was a font of information on Flint Hill; the well-read monograph “A Journey Through Flint Hill” was researched and composed by Arland, together with Esther Kidwell.

The detailed history of that area, its properties and families relates a colorful history back to the early 1700s. During her many years at the Society she helped organize and abstract chancery case records at the county clerk’s office, making research a bit easier. Deeds back to 1833 were her specialty, and complemented the property searches the Society completes. Perhaps most importantly, she kept the Society supplied with paper towels and toilet paper.

Arland was among the shepherds of the Flint Hill Baptist Church, notably faithful during a period in which membership dwindled to a handful. She rejoiced at the church’s rejuvenation and continuing vitality and was a powerful driving force in the recent improvements and rededication of the grave of heroic Mosby Ranger Albert Willis in a corner of the churchyard.

Arland’s family moved to Rappahannock from Madison County in the 1930s. She married here and never left, her sons and late husband prominent in farming operations. She was employed for many years at the Avtex plant in Front Royal and was a longtime Flint Hill poll worker.

She loved bluegrass music and was a fixture at the annual festival at Graves Mountain, famously arriving early each year to stake out an optimal listening spot with lawn chair and blanket.

Among her activities, her family was her greatest passion. She was renowned for complete and elaborate preparation of holiday meals for sons, Bill, Dale and Roger, and their families and friends.

Arland was a remarkable lady who will be deeply missed by all who knew her. While her passing leaves an enormous void, she leaves many tangible, significant and enduring contributions to the history of Rappahannock County.

Bob Massie and Jean Lillard also contributed to this article.

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