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Obituary: Douglas Welker

Doug Welker passed away on August 16, 2021, near Sturgeon Falls doing what he loved – hiking and advocating for the wild spaces of the Upper Peninsula.

Doug was born on March 22, 1946 in Batavia, New York to Ruth and Harry Welker, later graduating from LeRoy High School, receiving a BS from SUNY Albany and serving in the U.S. Navy. He and his wife, Marjory Johnston, moved to Alston, Michigan in 1986. They met at Case Western Reserve University when Doug was completing his PhD in Geology and Marjory was the librarian in the Geology Library. They lived in Greene County, Pennsylvania when Doug took a job as a geologist with the West Virginia Geological Survey. After much discussion of an ideal place to live, they chose the UP. They built their house and cultivated an outdoor life with hiking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and gardening. In addition to enjoying their outdoor life, with a menagerie of dogs and cats over the years, they became active stewards of their community, particularly the local trails and wild areas.

Doug served as a wilderness ranger, served on boards of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition and the Friends of the Land of Keweenaw, started the local Peter Wolfe Chapter of the North Country Trail Association and was currently active in a campaign to get four new Wildernesses designated in the Ottawa National Forest. He and Marjory worked together on annual trail maintenance on the North Country Trail. Doug loved to share his love of the outdoors with others, to simply appreciate the woods, the trees, the birds, and other inhabitants. He also worked for a number of years for Houghton/Portage Township Schools with a physically disabled student.

Doug is survived by his wife, Marjory, his special dog, Happy, his sister, Pat Ikler, niece Rebecca Ikler, and several cousins, Marjory’s nieces and nephews, and all those who were knowingly or unknowingly touched by or benefitted from Doug’s love of nature and the wilderness.

An informal outdoor memorial gathering for Doug Welker who died August 16 will be held on September 18 at 3:00 pm at the Johnston/Welker residence, Alston. Attendees should dress for the weather and bring a lawn chair. Snacks will be provided. For directions or more information contact Marjory or the O’neill-Dennis Funeral Home, 906-482-0660. Covid protocols including mask wearing and social distancing will be practiced. Gifts may be made in his memory to the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition, the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, the Copper Country Humane Society or a charity of one’s choice.

The O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home in Hancock is assisting with the arrangements. To leave online condolences, please go to www.oneilldennisfh.com.

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