Thirty-four years is a long time, but fourteen of those years belong to a good friend and well known writer and columnist of the Eugene Register Guard, Bob Welch.
After fourteen years as a general columnist, Welch hangs up his columnist wings and the spurs that took him on a career as a reporter and ended as a columnist to his next flight out of town to another era – writing novels and more.
A career that began right out of college from stints as a sports reporter from the Register Guard to the Oregon Coast to the desert sands of Eastern Oregon and back to the place where it all began, “Ducktown, USA,” it was the dream to return to his alma mater and to the Guard, he said in his last column Thursday.
Welch was not only the voice of the Register Guard, he was considered – “the voice,” as if he took the top radio spot from local radio personality, Jerry Allen of KUGN Radio. Allen is the voice of the Oregon Ducks, but for Welch he was the indeed the voice of the Register Guard, as his readers saw it, they admired him as a true columnist. A columnist that knew his written words would connect with those locally and around the world – it was that simple.
As Welch said, in his last column Thursday morning, “his life reads much like a series of Cliff Notes for the past two decades,” he wrote. Nothing beats being a writer and newspaperman in an era, which took him accomplish more columns than one can count.
What is more amazing, Welch penned nearly 2,000 columns in those fourteen years at the Register Guard – something, that would nearly statistic the number of fugitive captures, “Dog the Bounty Hunter” would’ve picked up in his entire lifetime of chasing bad guys across the country for jumping bail and failing to appear.
As writer, speaker and instructor – his passion for writing stuck like glue, even though his career not only speaks for itself – but, backs the likes and support of his readers and fans. It was that simple as a following, that made him a household name at the breakfast table, the lunch diner down the street and the traveling salesman catching up with the local news, while flying from Eugene to New York for a bubbling advertising gig on Wallstreet and beyond.
Welch says, “every writer has a dream,” a dream that takes them to the most inspiring parts of life – “their second life,” he said in his last column. But, the buck doesn’t stop there, he plans to teach, write and inspire other writers to hone their craft through his Beachside Writers Workshops and at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication as well as working on his novel projects.
It may be the end of an era? But, it was more like an ending to the final episode of the now defunct ABC Tuesday night drama, “Moonlighting,” with Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepard – ultimately, more like a sequel to the James Caan and Marcia Mason movie based on Neil Simon’s play, “Chapter Two.”
An inspiring writer to those who have made the connection to the “voice,” He leaves behind a legacy that shall earn him a spot in the “Writer’s Hall Of Fame.”
It’s quite evident, he’s a hall of famer in his own right and in the minds of those who cherished his daily dosage of twice weekly columns under harsh deadlines and grave battlefields, his retirement is just that – retirement and the beach with the next Great American Novel likely be written overlooking the Oregon Dunes from the “writer’s cabin” in Yachats, Oregon, Welch’s retirement is just beginning with Chatper Two.