Oct. 23—MIDLAND — William Swansey "Bill" Welsh is a man of highly varied interests who has combined careers in education and numismatics, or coin collecting, with a dedication to the ministry that led him to serve 31 years at two Churches of Christ.
The 67-year-old native of Austintown, Ohio, was a cross country track star in his youth, running on a state championship team in high school, making All-America at Ashland University in Ohio and attending Eastern New Mexico University at Portales on a track scholarship.
Having preached for 13 years at the Tarzan Church of Christ in Martin County and 18 years at Belvue Church of Christ in Stanton, Welsh said, "I always emphasized revival and prayer.
"Oftentimes, we don't have the communications with God that we have the opportunity to have. Not talking to God is like losing out on talking to our parents till it is too late. I also emphasized the necessity of reading the Bible because that's communicating with God, too."
Owner of Preacher Bill's Coins & Collectibles at 1004 W. Front St., Welsh said his work as a teacher of Bible history, government and economics at Midland Christian School and Big Spring High School gave him the chance to impart ethics to students. "I told them to befriend students whom no one else wanted to be with and to practice the Golden Rule, which goes way beyond just treating people the way you want to be treated," he said.
"Treat everyone fairly, honestly and right because lots of good can come from that."
Welsh earned a bachelor's degree in ancient history and world history at Eastern New Mexico University, a master's in Bible history at Abilene Christian University and a doctorate in Bible ministry at Bethany Theological Seminary in Dothan, Alabama. He and his wife Jennie have two children and four grandchildren.
Welsh graduated from the Reserve Officers Training Corps at ENMU, declined his commission and served as an enlisted man at Fort Sill, Okla., Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Carson, Colo.
"My father Robert, who was an Army Air Corps pilot during World War II and a foreman in a steel mill in Youngstown, and my mother Viola raised me and my two brothers and three sisters very well," he said. "When I graduated from high school, they sent me to the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany."
Ron Rice, a retired Midland policeman who is an elder at the Greenwood Church of Christ, said Welsh "is a super friendly, easygoing guy.
"I have seen him disappointed in people, but I don't think I have ever seen him angry, which to me is quite an accomplishment," Rice said. "Bill is super knowledgeable about the Bible and he takes his Christianity out into the world."