Michael Ford Welch, age 68, resident of the Brookdale Spruce Wood assisted-living community, formerly of Somersworth, NH and Wakefield MA, died on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at the Wentworth Douglass Hospital after a lengthy ten year struggle with Alzheimer’s.
He was born on October 19, 1953 in Rochester, NH; the son of Ford J. and Barbara H. (Tattrie) Welch.
From a young age, Michael was interested in the arts. In High School, he was named to the New Hampshire All-State cast for two years running. That honor entitled him to a scholarship at the UNH Summer Repertory Theatre for an intensive apprenticeship program that culminated with performances in the Summer Theatre productions. During the 1970 season, Michael also worked at the Rochester Music Theatre as the Property Master for nine musical productions.
After graduating High School, Michael moved to New York City to further his love of acting. He attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, completing a course of study that included voice, acting, dance and mime. During that time he enjoyed roles in several productions, returning to the Rochester Opera House for the 1973 summer season as an understudy and dancer, with roles in The Fantasticks, Once Upon a Mattress and Guys and Dolls.
Michael continued acting, singing, and dancing in musicals and plays in New York and Connecticut, many times in the lead role. In the late ’70s, he once again he returned to New Hampshire, signing on with Theatre By The Sea to be in the Prescott Park Arts Festival productions of Oklahoma, Once Upon a Mattress, Brigadoon and Fiddler On The Roof.
In the ’80s, Michael was a courier, which enabled him to visit other countries. Traveling evolved into a passion whereby he could combine his love of arts and learning about different cultures into decades of discovery. This was especially true after he met his life partner Bill Buckingham in 1990, whom he later married in 2004. They were inseparable as they traveled the world together. When Michael wasn’t accumulating air miles, he put his experiences to good use for over 20 years as a Foreign Student Advisor at MIT and Harvard University.
During their journey together, Michael and Bill they fell in love with the art of mosaic, each becoming accomplished mosaic artists themselves. They played important roles in the Society of American Mosaic Art, promoting and supporting the growth of mosaic art in America. Michael won the prestigious Orsoni award for his piece, Timeless Vortex – Antelope Canyon. He worked alongside Bill in both their business and website Mosaic Rocks and the beautiful magazine Mosaic Art NOW. Michael will be remembered by the mosaic art community for his great talent, wit and devotion to the art of mosaic.
Michael is survived by his stepmother Betty Welch of Meredith; sister Nancy Auclair of Rochester; Sister-in-law Lynne Guidicianne and husband Michael of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; brothers Scott Richey of Milton, Gary Welch of Gilmanton, Greg Welch and wife Ellen of Northfield, Peter Welch and wife Cyndi of Belmont; nephews Nick Tarmey of Rochester and Stephen Welch of Bethlehem; and many, many friends around the world.
Michael was pre-deceased by his father Ford Welch in 2018; husband of 16 years, Bill Buckingham in 2010; mother Barbara Richey in 2001; and sister Carol Welch in 1999.
A private remembrance gathering for family and friends will be held at a future date.
Memorial contributions may be made in Michael’s name to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund where 100% of all donations go to research.