The Greene County Bar Association (GCBA) mourns the loss of John Cullen “Jack” Welsh Jr., Esq., more affectionately known as Jack or most affectionately known Professor Welsh. His obituary can be found by clicking here, and a really wonderful news article from Albany Law School and be found here.
Given Professor Welsh’s tenure in Greene County and Catskill, I asked some the County Court Judges, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office on some remarks about Jack. Each of the comments and memories focused on one thing: His passion and innate ability as a legal educator.
Some of the comments include:
Hon. Terry J. Wilhelm: Jack Welsh lived for many decades in the Village of Catskill with his wife and children. He was a professor at Albany Law School for many decades and, on several occasions, he was the acting Dean of Albany Law School. He taught property at Albany Law School. He was a great guy, a great law professor, and a great family man and was very active in St. Patrick’s Church in Catskill (his residence was about 50 yards from the church). I and many other older members of the local bar had Professor Welsh as a professor in property law. Not long after retiring from Albany Law School he moved more toward the middle of the country to be closer to his kids. Many, many graduates of Albany Law School will never forget Jack Welsh.
Hon. Charles M. Tailleur: I recall meeting Professor Welsh when I was a teenager running around on the local basketball courts and baseball diamonds competing against or with his son “Jimmy” with whom I became friends. Professor Welsh would often attend the games. I did not know then that several years later I would be sliding through his Property Law class literally by the skin of my teeth. Not a real fan of the “Rule Against Perpetuities”. “Miranda Rights” are more my speed.
Professor Welsh was both brilliant and kind with an unwavering commitment to his students; his family; his community and his faith. What a wonderful life he had, leaving a profound legacy that includes the meaningful impact he has had on so many in the Greene County bar and well beyond!
Rest in Peace, Professor Welsh. – Chip, ALS Class of 1992.
Patrick Gratten, Esq.: I took every course that Professor Welsh taught at Albany Law School: Property 1, Property 2 as well as Trusts and Estates. I remember him looking off into the corner of the room with his hands in his hip pockets, naming a case, giving the citation and then, with lightning speed, stating the facts and then pausing ever-so-slightly before asking the question. He had a sly sense of humor, such as saying “It is hard to decide who to dislike more: the plaintiff, the defendant, their lawyers or the judge”.
He was acting Dean and spoke at orientation. He encouraged all the incoming students to freely share any problems, personal or institutional, with the appropriate Law School personnel. After his generous encouragement, he added wisely “Despite what you may think, your problems are not new or remarkable, we have heard them all before at Albany Law School”. They broke the mold after they made him. He is truly irreplaceable. ALS class of ’96
Kelly Ann Nagle, Esq.: I am sure all Albany Law graduates remember Professor Welsh. Old school, he required that you stand when called upon in Property class. He was never without that white plastic pocket protector and pens contained therein. Lecturing and drilling students via the Socratic Method with his hands in his back pockets. That voice… and dry wit.
Rumors abounded about his phenomenal memory and how he graduated law school with a perfect GPA, the truth of which I don’t know. What I do know is that he walked into Greene County Surrogate’s Court one day and, seeing my name on the door remarked that he recalled me as a former student. I had graduated at least five years before. That was when I learned that he lived in Catskill – right up the street from the Courthouse!
Judge Pulver once asked Professor Welsh to serve as a Friend of the Court in a particularly troublesome Surrogate’s case where we needed a skilled practitioner. Ever gracious, he obliged and his research and advice was invaluable.
When Professor Welsh retired and moved from Catskill, he filed with Surrogate’s Court all the Wills he had drafted and gave me his contact information in case he was ever needed. Thus began our annual Christmas card exchange which continued up through this Christmas.
I am glad his signature is on my law school diploma as Acting Dean at the time I graduated. Rest in Peace Professor. ALS class of ’95
David Costanzo, Esq. (District Attorney’s Office): When I attended Albany Law School I had the privilege of studying under Professor Welsh. Professor Welsh was a true scholar who taught and mentored generations of lawyers. Professor Welsh will be remembered and missed by all.
Angelo Scaturro, Esq. (Public Defender’s Office and Immediate Past President of GCBA): I had Jack in my first year at Albany Law School. He taught real property. I have had two memorable moments with Jack. The first time in law school that I had to stand and answer a question was in Jack’s real property class. Of course my last name being with an “S” meant I was at the back of the class in an auditorium like setting. I answered the question in the manner I thought was appropriate. Jack gave me another scenario and I continued to answer in the same manner. He did that several more times until it was pretty clear that I was answering the question wrong, but I stood my ground and then everyone laughed at me! My second memorable experience with Jack was shortly after I started working at Pulver & Stiefel. I was conducting one of my first closings representing Catskill Savings Bank and the purchaser (although I was covering for Ned Stiefel so I did not handle the closing from the beginning of the contract). The conference room filled with people and I turned to my left to find out that Jack Welsh was representing the seller. Of course the purchaser asked a question and I was starting to sweat bullets giving the answer not knowing if I was correct. After I give the answer I turned to Jack and asked if I had answered her properly. Being the gentleman that he was, he told me he wasn’t listening! Jack left an indelible mark on Albany Law school and on me. He will not be forgotten.