J. Michael Welch, a lifelong member of Redlands, passed away on November 2, 2020. He was 78.

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 9, 1942, Michael Welch moved with his family to Redlands in 1949. He was a member of the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church. He attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and graduated from Aquinas High School in San Bernardino. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in 1964 and his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1967.

His law practice included specializing in criminal defense and family law with law firms in Ontario from 1971 to 1987. He served as a deputy in both the district attorney’s office and public defender’s office in San Bernardino County from 1968 to 1971 and 1987 to 1990, respectively. From 1990 to 1995, Mike Welch served as the first commissioner to ever hold a criminal assignment with the San Bernardino Superior Court.

In 1995, Governor Pete Wilson appointed him a Superior Court Judge of the County of San Bernardino. During his judicial career with San Bernardino County, Judge J. Michael Welch served as Assistant Presiding Judge before becoming Presiding Judge.

Judge Welch also was a proud member of the following organizations: The California Judges’ Association since 1991; the Criminal Law and Procedures’ Committee from 1996 to 2004 and of its Court Administrative Committee from 2003 to 2009, serving as chairman from 2005 to 2006;
a member of the Judicial Council Criminal Law Advisory Committee; the Presiding Judges’ Advisory Committee; the Probate/Conservatorship Task Force; the Judicial Council of California, serving as vice chairman of the Executive and Planning Committee; a member of the Litigation Management Committee; and many other task forces. Judge Welch also received many awards from respected members of the law community was also held an integral part of the San Bernardino Courthouse Central retrofitting and renovation project.

Mike was blessed with a great sense of humor and had a gift of telling stories. As he told his funny stories or a shared funny memory, his contagious laughter would affect everyone gathered around him. He took pride in his local community and loved sharing stories about the
history of the City of Redlands, San Bernardino County Superior Court, and many other topics. His favorite football teams were the USC Trojans and the Raiders; and he also enjoyed watching the L.A. Lakers. He was an avid golfer and a member of the Redlands Country Club for many years and absolutely loved the tapioca pudding at the country club.

During his life, he was a respected gentleman and a trusted friend. Anyone who ever had the
good fortune to meet or know Judge Welch was lucky to be in the presence of a wonderful person, who was intelligent, giving, and honest. He showed respect and courtesy to everyone. He was also chosen by many new judicial officers who strived to be known as an intelligent and compassionate magistrate, and above all, a good listener in adjudicating court cases and disputes.

Judge J. Michael Welch is survived by his wife, Ginny Lynn Welch; his middle son, John Welch;
youngest son, James Welch; and preceded in death by his oldest son, Joseph Welch, in 2012. His grandchildren include: Kirk, Ryan, Jessica, Regan, Robby; and great-grandchildren: Ariella and Bethany. Other survivors include his wife’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren: Anthony Allen Touchette; Analisa Touchette; Ashley Murin; Abel Touchette; and Addi Murin. Mike’s brother and sister-in law, Pat and Susan Welch, live in Twentynine Palms.

All are welcomed to attend a Celebration of Life to be held on November 11, 2020 at The Grove of Redlands; 1275 E. Pioneer Avenue; Redlands, California 92374; at one p.m. Flowers and cards can be brought to the celebration or sent to this address on November 11, 2020. Appropriate face mask coverings are required. A private, family Catholic Mass will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the First Tee – Inland Empire. Click HERE to donate.