He held bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological science from Eastern Illinois University and an Ed S Degree from Southern Illinois University. Leo devoted his life to education. He taught biology for over 50 years starting at ROVA High School in Oneida, IL, then at Illinois State University as graduate assistant, and for over 45 years at Southwestern Illinois College at Belleville, IL.
Throughout his teaching career he promoted higher education and served in leadership roles in local, state, and national organizations including the Illinois Community College Faculty Association, State University Annuitants Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, and American Association of University Professors. He was especially proud to serve as the President of the Southwestern Illinois Faculty Union in the tradition of those that preceded him.
He was the President of the Board of Trustees of Eastern Illinois University and a member of the Illinois State Museum. Leo also participated in activities of the Southwestern Illinois Labor Council, the O’Fallon Democratic Club and served as a precinct committeeman.
Leo travelled extensively. He especially enjoyed Cardinal baseball, flat track motorcycle racing and playing tennis.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis and Lena (Hawes) Welch; and a brother-in-law, Jon Young.
Surviving are his wife, Kay (Young) Welch, whom he married on August 11, 1963; a brother, Larry Welch and his wife, Joann; a niece, Brenda Welch and her husband, Aaron Lewis, and their daughter, Frances Keir Welch; a brother-in-law, Ron Young and his wife, Martha; a nephew, Josh Young, his wife, Rebecca, and their daughters, Hannah Young and Sarah Young; a niece, Eleanor Young and her husband, Nason, and their daughter, Mabry.
Memorials may be made to Heartlands Conservancy, 29 East Main Street, Belleville, IL or at www.heartlandsconservancy.com; or the Belleville Area Humane Society, 1301 S 11th Street, Belleville, IL or at www.bahspets.org; or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.rennerfh.com.
Friends and family are invited to an informal open house to honor and remember Leo’s life, at O’Fallon Station, 212 E 1st Street, O’Fallon, IL, on Sunday, July 31, 2022, between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m.