Rae Linda Welker, age 73, of Akron, Ohio died peacefully at home surrounded by her loving husband and daughters on June 22, 2020 having lived a happy and inspirational life full of special relationships, acts of service and travel.
Rae was born September 21, 1946 in New Brighton, PA to the late Douglas and Virginia (Kissick) Zuck. She graduated from Shenango H.S. in New Castle, PA where she met her high school sweetheart and love of her life, Wayne Welker. Wayne and Rae were married on August 18, 1967 and had 52 wonderful years together as best friends, loving parents and travel partners.
Rae knew early on that she wanted to help and care for people and became a nurse of 42 years, earning her diploma as a Registered Nurse from Jameson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in New Castle, PA. She had an interest in her psychiatric classes and went on to be a psychiatric nurse at Akron General Hospital. Her caring nature also drew her to become a maternity nurse at Akron General and in retirement volunteer to “cuddle” newborn babies at Akron Children’s Hospital. She was a Guardian Ad Litem for many years, advocating for children that needed an extra voice.
Rae loved being a supportive and involved mom. She would dress her young daughters in coordinated (but not “matching”) outfits, sew homemade halloween costumes and school dance dresses for her girls, volunteer at schools (President of the King School PTA!) while making time for meaningful talks with her kids and their friends on “the couch”. She was her girls’ biggest cheerleader on the sidelines never missing a game. Her advice was always “make memories”.
Rae loved to travel the world with Wayne and they would take their “big trips” almost annually. The Mark Twain quote: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness” was framed and hung in her house.
Rae had several friend groups and so many special people who she enjoyed laughing with and spending time. Many of these spanned the course of decades into lifelong friendships.
Rae was an alto who loved to sing, starting in Rainbow Girls and the High School choir joining others over the years; singing on Sundays at Faith Lutheran Church, in the Akron Symphony Chorus, with the St. Cecelia Choral Society, and in the Gospel Meets Symphony programs.
All along the way Rae was compelled to use her time on Earth to help make it more beautiful. She loved decorating her home and made and hung door wreaths for every new season. She was creative and “crafty”, involved with the OhioMart and WITAN’s French Market; she had her own business called “Rae of Sun” to sell her crafts. She helped to decorate her beloved Faith Lutheran Church, where she and Wayne were members for close to 50 years. As a friend wrote in a personal note: “P.S. We expect heaven will look much prettier after you work your magic on it!”.
Rae enjoyed big old manor houses and became a guide at Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. She could be seen sitting on the bench that was dedicated to her by her family because of her love for Stan Hewett.
Rae got things done! A few years ago she realized she did not have interment options that she liked, so she got to work on creating a memorial garden at Faith Lutheran Church. Her final resting place will be in the church courtyard under the beautiful dogwood tree that she planted.
Rae was known for her bright smile and spunk, her listening ability and being quick to love and laugh. She never met a stranger and made people feel special all throughout her life. She lived life richly and deeply and her light will be missed by many.
She is survived by her husband Wayne F. Welker; daughters Kristen Mills (Brian) and Allison Welker (Dustin Tanis); sister-in-law Phyllis Linder; nieces Tricia Durbin (Richard), Tracy Fry and Shauna Leonard. Being an only child she had a special sister-like relationship with her cousin Carol DeLisio. Along with her parents she is preceded in death by her step-father Edward Allision; step-brothers Edward and Donald Allison and sister-in-law Shirley Welker.
Friends may call at the Billow FAIRLAWN Chapel, 85 N. Miller Rd., Fairlawn, OH 44333, THURSDAY, July 9 from 4 to 7 pm. Social distancing and masks are required. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a private service will be held at Faith Lutheran Church on Friday July 10. Interment will follow in the church memorial garden. There will be a live stream of the service at 11:00 am here https://www.facebook.com/faithlutheranfairlawn
Should friends desire (in lieu of flowers), memorials may be made to Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens https://tickets.stanhywet.org/singlePage/Donation.cshtml?productId=859
or Stewart’s Caring Place: Cancer Wellness Center https://stewartscaringplace.crm.salsalabs.org/webDonation/
The family would like to express its thanks to the staff at Akron General Cancer Treatment Center and Cleveland Clinic Hospice for their compassionate care.
Services in care of Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333.
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