Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Arthur "Curly"L. Welsh


Honored May, 2003

Arthur 'Curly' L. Welsh

One of the advantages of living a long, productive life is that Arthur "Curly" Welsh has now devoted a full 25 years to Santa Fe--after 64 previous years of dedication to New Mexico in general, to his hometown of Peña Blanca, to Albuquerque and to his country.

Because the woman who has to become his mother had tuberculosis and her doctors recommended a warm, dry climate, she and her husband moved from Indiana to New Mexico. The "prescription" worked and she was cured; and in 1914 Welsh was born in tiny Peña Blanca, between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Seeking the best education for their children, his parents moved to Albuquerque; and he graduated from high school there in 1932. He got a fast start in business in Albuquerque, first in banking and then in real estate. But in World War II he joined the Army and served in the Philippines and Japan, while his wife was raising two small children on his corporal's pay.

With a natural love of people and a natural gift for sales, Welsh built an enormously successful real estate agency back home after the war. With his growing prosperity came a deep commitment to give back to the community that was nurturing him. Over many years he served as president of many organizations: the March of Dimes, the Girl Scouts, the Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Game Protective Association, the Highway 85 Association, the Albuquerque Board of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and active in the Elks. He was a founder of the Albuquerque Osteopathic Hospital, now Carrie Tingley Hospital.

After investing in property in Sante Fe, Welsh and his wife moved here 25 years ago. Characteristically he plunged into local affairs, including the state’s unofficial good-will-ambassador organization, the New Mexico Amigos; the Santa Fe Don Quixotes; the First Presbyterian Church; and the Santa Fe chapter of the Westerners, a history-oriented group. He is recognized nationally and in New Mexico as a Realtor Emeritus.

Yet just as impressive as his many accomplishments are the terms used to describe Welsh by those who know him. These terms include: "a modest man, completely unpretentious," "he never met a stranger," "unfailing good will and bonhomie," "a classic American hero," "loving and humble," "he is OPEN," "one of a kind," and "when a man has a servant's heart, it isn't necessary to call attention to himself."

Story by Richard McCord
Photo ©2004 by Steve Northrup