Mayor Richard Allen Welton, 72, passed away July 31, 2015, surrounded by his wife Debby and loving family. Dick was born on September 6, 1942 to Arthur and Mary Welton of Gurnee. Dick passionately loved his family and his community of Gurnee. He was a lifelong member of the Gurnee Community Church. Dick graduated from Warren Township High School in 1961. He was elected to the WTHS Hall of Fame in early 1990s. He graduated from Carthage College in 1965, later serving on their board. Dick went on to take over management responsibilities of the Welton's Food Mart, on top of the hill of Old Grand Avenue, and drive the growth to become a five store chain employing over 1000 dedicated team members. He was appointed as a Village of Gurnee Trustee in 1971. Two years later, he was elected Mayor of Gurnee at the age of 30, the youngest mayor in IL at the time. He retained this position for the next 28 years and led the expansion of Gurnee from a small village to a thriving community bringing in Great America, Gurnee Mills and virtually every major residential and commercial development. He was the first Lake County mayor to serve as President of the Illinois Municipal League. He took great pride in his work with the Lake County Joint Action Water Agency and served as the first president. He was also responsible for the formation of the Lake County Storm Water Management Commission following the 1986 record flood in Gurnee. He was a member of PACE board for past 20 years and was on the Gurnee Economic Development Committee. He was an active member of the Gurnee Exchange club for over 35 years, being honored with the "Book of Golden Deeds" award. He was instrumental in the development of Gurnee Days Corporation, Gurnee Park District and Warren Newport Library. Along with his best friend, Bob Depke, Dick worked on the "Save Great Lakes Naval Station" campaign. Dick's greatest source of pride and joy was his family. He is survived by his beloved wife, Debby (Shannon), children Natalie (Ross) Ellis, Dick (Maria) Welton, Jr., Stacy (Owen) Evans, Brett (Amy) Schmidt, and Kristan (Mike) Kolar. Treasured grandchildren are Erika, Liam, Kaitlyn, Angelina, Jake, Jackson and John. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Marilyn Fredrickson, in-laws, Donna (Guy) Flaschner, Don (Lisa) Shannon and Richard (Mario) Shannon. Dick's siblings, Maryann (Dr. Manooch) Sharifi, Harry (Gail) Welton, Martha (Marvin) Schmidt, Bill (Annette) Welton, Sara (Al) Hancock and Nancy (Jim) Hayner. Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Mary Welton, his father-in-law, Don Shannon, his brother and sister-in-law, Art and Lynn Welton and nephew, A.G. Hancock. The wake will be at Gurnee Community Church, 4555 Old Grand Avenue, Gurnee, on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 from 3-9 pm. Funeral services will also be at Gurnee Community Church on Wednesday, August 5 at 10:00 am. Interment to follow at Warren Cemetery. On September 6, 2014, in honor of Dick, the Village of Gurnee dedicated a site as "The Richard A. Welton Village Plaza." In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to this memorial. Donations should be made out to "Village of Gurnee" and reference "Richard Welton Village Plaza" in memo field. Checks can be mailed to Village of Gurnee, 325 N. O'Plaine Road, Gurnee, IL 60031.
Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 3:00pm - 9:00pm, Gurnee Community Church
Wednesday, August 5th, 2015 10:00am, Gurnee Community Church
Warren Cemetery & Mausoleum