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Norman T. Welker

October 15th, 1938 – March 12th, 2021

Norman Thomas Welker, age 82 of Macomb, IL, passed away Friday, March 12, 2021 at St. Johns Hospital in Springfield, IL. He was born on October 15, 1938 in Canton, IL, the son of Don and Jeanette (Angelo) Welker. On July 18, 1959, Norman married Virginia Kingery at the First Christian Church in Ipava, IL. She survives.

Also surviving are his two sons, Brian (and Sue) Welker of Naperville, IL and Bradley (and Dora) Welker of Sherman, IL, four grandchildren; Kyle (and Rachel Trent) Welker, Kailey (and Mike) Boland, Ashley Welker and Clayton Welker, his sister-in-law Sandra Welker of Lewistown, IL, his brother-in-law Jim Nappin of Lewistown, IL and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Norman was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Don “Gene” Welker and his sister Emma Jane Nappin.

Norman was a graduate of VIT High School in 1956. Following graduation, he joined the US Army where he learned the telephone trade. During his service, he spent two years in Japan where he was responsible for maintaining dial offices. During this time in Japan, he received three letters of Accommodation.

Following separation from the Army, he placed applications with several phone companies and a cooperative. He received a call from McDonough Telephone Cooperative’s (MTC) general manager requesting he come in for an interview. Norman was there on June 15th and at the conclusion of the interview the manager asked how soon he could start. He had to wait until the following day, June 16th, 1959 before he could start. He went on to spend his entire telephone career of 47 years working for MTC, the last 21 years as general manager and president.

Over the years, Norman was sought out by other regional small companies to help in restoring service or correcting problems with switching equipment. After becoming general manager, Norman was soon sought out to serve on various committees and board of director positions. One of the first boards that he served on was the Illinois Hearing Impaired program, which today is known as the ITAC program. He was a member of the Illinois Telephone Cooperative Advisory Council, Illinois Independent Telephone Company, Illinois Telephone Association, Service Management Corporation Board and National Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA) Board. The crown jewel for Norman was to serve as President of the NTCA Board of Directors and receive the NTCA Life Achievement Award.

He was instrumental, along with other Telco leaders, with the creation of Western Illinois Network Service (WINS), providing Internet technology and later digital TV to homes throughout west central Illinois. MTC first introduced digital switching technology in the late 1990’s. Norman had a major responsibility in coordinating the project as MTC had to work with a number of companies that the Cooperative connected with, the largest being GTE Telephone. By the time he became general manager in 1984 many changes had occurred within the telephone industry. Federal and state agencies were demanding more services than the older digital switches could provide. This resulted in a complete replacement of the Cooperative’s digital switching equipment.

Just like the old equipment being retired, it was time for Norman to retire. His last day in the office was September 30, 2005. Upon retirement, Norman and Virginia loved to travel. Several of the trips were very memorable. For their 50th Wedding anniversary they did an Alaskan cruise, taking their children and grandchildren along. Later, they did a European tour including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. On the way home they made a stop in the United Kingdom. They traveled to Barcelona, Spain, spending a few days there before joining a Mediterranean cruise that covered a number of ports of call.

Norman and Virginia did several theater tours with WIU seeing many stage shows. There were several trips to NYC Broadway for shows and even one to London, England. Norman looked forward to the long weekends spent at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort which included a couple of nice dinners as well as theater. His “bucket list” was not complete-there was a train trip across Canada that he and Virginia had to take. They boarded the Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver and ended the trip in Calgary and then home.

Norman was a member of the Macomb Elk’s Lodge 1009, serving as Exalted Ruler in 1983 and District Deputy GER in 1988, a member of the Macomb Masonic Lodge #17, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Springfield, ANSAR Shrine in Springfield, the Macomb American Legion Post #6, Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce where he was President in 2002, and was President of the National Telephone Cooperative Association from 2004-2005.

Services for Norman will be held on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 11:00 am at the First Christian Church in Macomb, IL. Pastor Kelly Ingersoll will officiate. Visitation will be held from 9:30-11:00 am the day of the service at the church. Interment will be in the Summum Cemetery in Summum, Illinois with Masonic services provided by the Macomb Masonic Lodge #17 and military rites provided by the Macomb American Legion Post #6. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to the WIU Foundation for the Arts, c/o WIU Foundation, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455, or to Hematology Research at Mayo Clinic, c/o Mayo Clinic Dept. of Development, 200 1st Street SW, Rochester, MN, or to the Shriners Hospital for Children, Chicago Unit, 2211 North Oak Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60707-3392.

Condolences


March 13th, 2021

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Welker family. You will be in our prayers. Mary Beth and Mike Boland

March 14th, 2021

We are keeping the Welker family in are hearts and prayers. Tim and Cindy Mcquality

March 14th, 2021

Our sympathy & prayers to you and your family.

March 14th, 2021

Our condolences to the Welker Family. We are thinking of you. Norman was quite an accomplished man. The William Pryor Family.

March 14th, 2021

Karen and I were very sad to learn of Norman's death. Virginia, prayers and warm wishes surround you and your family in this sad time. Jay and Karen Williams

March 15th, 2021

Our hearts and prayers are with you all, much love and hugs, Bernie and Cindy Hennessy and family.

March 15th, 2021

Sorry we cannot be with you in person but are with you in thought and prayers. Rodney & Joan

March 15th, 2021

Prayers for peace and comfort for your family... what a beautiful tribute to Norman. Neil and Jo Ann Luallen

March 15th, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Peace and comfort, Ann and Jon Moss

March 15th, 2021

So sorry to learn of Norman’s death. I always enjoyed seeing him when he was in Springfield. Not only were we cousins but also we had the telephone connection.
Judith/Judy Skiles Anderson

March 16th, 2021

Virginia - Thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.
Kay Watson

March 16th, 2021

Virginia & Family: Sorry to learn of Norman's death. He was a long-time friend (his sister & I spent a lot of time together and I enjoyed visiting with him via FB. Prayers for Comfort & Peace! Bea Schisler Meeker

March 16th, 2021

Virginia, we are so saddened to learn of Norman's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Linda and Merle

March 16th, 2021

Virginia - We were sorry to read of Normans passing. Gene & Connie Lockard

March 16th, 2021

So very sorry to hear of Normans passing. Thoughts and prayers are with the Welker family. Scott and Cindy Teel

March 17th, 2021

My deepest sympathy. I cherish the memories of Lodge work with Norm and the friendship he shared with my family. So mote it be.
Neil Armstrong

March 17th, 2021

So sorry for your loss. Bob n Loretta Mummert

March 18th, 2021

Sorry for your loss. Barbara J. Derry Hamm

March 18th, 2021

Dear Virginia, Brian and Bradley. Jane and I are saddened to hear of your loss.
Skip

March 18th, 2021

Sorry for your loss. He was a very good man and will be missed

March 19th, 2021

I was saddened to learn of your loss. Norm was such a nice man. My heart goes out to all the Welker family. Wanda (Baumgardner) Shannon

April 16th, 2021

Just saw this -- so sorry for your loss Virginia and family! Cathy O'Hern Crain