Bob Welch is a speaker, author, award-winning columnist and teacher who has served as an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
As head of Pebble in the Water Inspiration, Welch has keynoted conferences, workshops and retreats across America, tugging at hearts, tickling funny bones, and inspiring people to be ripples on life’s waters. Among his speaking highlights was being asked to keynote the dedication ceremony at the Massachusetts Statehouse for a plaque honoring WWII nurse Frances Slanger. It was Welch’s book about Slanger, American Nightingale, that convinced legislators to honor the Boston nurse.
“Forget the hyperbole,” said Julie Zander, organizer of the Association of Personal Historians conference in Portland in 2006. “Our 261 participants scored Welch a 4.81 on a 5.0-scale.”
A storyteller by nature, Welch mines much of his speaking fodder from the 20 books he’s authored and the nearly 2,000 columns he’s written for The Register-Guard, Oregon’s second-largest newspaper, since 1999. He has twice won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’s highest award for writing. In addition, he has won dozens of other journalism awards, including the 2010 and 2011 Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s “Best Writing” awards. Other honors include the Seattle Times C.B. Blethen Award for Distinguished Feature Writing.
In fall 2015, the third, and final, collection of his Register-Guard columns — My Oregon III — will release, along with the Thomas Nelson-published 52 Little Lessons From a Christmas Carol.
San Diego author Mike Yorkey calls Welch “the most eclectic writer in America” because the Oregon author has written World War II and children’s books, hiking books and collections of columns, books inspired by his favorite movies and plays and books about fathers and sons, sports and military nurses.
His book about a heroic World War II nurse, American Nightingale (Atria Books, 2004), was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. A follow-up book, Pebble in the Water (AO Creative, 2008), amplifies the author’s American Nightingale experience from an idea written on a Wendy’s napkin to the four years it took before the book was published. And details the life lessons learned along the way. In 2008, Easy Company Soldier (St. Martin’s Press) earned the No. 1 in the country among amazon.com’s World War II/Western Front books. The book is about Don Malarkey, an Astoria, Oregon-born member of the well-known “Band of Brothers” unit made famous by historian Steven Ambrose and an HBO miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Welch’s 1999 book, A Father for All Seasons, about the seasons of fathers and sons, won the Gold Medallion Award for Family & Parenting.
Articles of Welch’s have been published in more than a dozen books, including seven in the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series.
In addition, he has had articles published in such magazines as Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated and Runner’s World.
In 2005, Welch founded the Beachside Writers Workshop in the Oregon coast town of Yachats. Since then, more than 1,000 students have attended the 25 workshops, which are now held not only in Yachats but Seal Rock, Eugene, Vida and Sisters.
Welch has spoken at the National Writers Workshops and has served as a judge for numerous writing contests, including the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing awards.
He and his wife, Sally, live in Eugene. They are parents of two adult sons, who also live in Eugene with their families, and grandparents of five. Welch enjoys sailing, backpacking, used-bookstore browsing and University of Oregon sports-spectating. They attend Grace Community Fellowship, where he and Sally helped launch a marriage-coaching program.