In Memory

Ellen Welsh

Ellen Pauline Welsh, 63, of Bettendorf, Iowa, died Thursday, July 21, 2016 at the Iowa Masonic Health Facilities in Bettendorf.
Born November 11, 1952 in Ashland, Ohio to Robert and Julia (O'Neill) Welsh, Ellen graduated from Bettendorf Hight School and Kirkwood Commuity College.  She earned the title of Master Gardener, had collected pottery and enjoyed exchanging recipes.
She had sold Avon products for several years and worked as a florist with Colman Florist and was also employed with K&K Hardware, Handy Tru-Value and Lowes.  Ellen also had the distinction of being the longest living kidney transplant recipient of Iowa.
Those left to honor Ellen's memory include her brothers, Michael Welsh of Davenport, Dan Welsh of Bettendorf, and Tim (Bonnie) Welsh of Kingwood, Texas; her sisters, Loretta (Larry) Thompson of Bettendorf, Julianne (Bill) Kout of Lawler, Iowa and Joanne (fiance Geoff Huston) Grove of Bettendorf; 13 nieces and nephews; and many friends.
Ellen was preceded in death by her parents.  Her family would like to thank all of her doctors and nurses that have taken care of her over the years, including all three Dr. Mottos and the dorctors of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

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07/22/16 11:49 AM #1    

Susan Hamilton (Trudell)


Ellen and I met at Washington School when we were in fifth grade in Miss Ludwig's class.  We hung out with one another on the playground during recess, and I remember her as being sweet, funny, and a great friend.  My fondest memory of those days was when she began coming to school with boxing gloves so she could box with the boys during recess.  I am sure she will be missed by her family and friends.  Godspeed my friend.

Susan Hamilton-Trudell




07/22/16 04:50 PM #2    

Mona Patterson (Blake)

I remember when I first met Ellen at her 14th birthday party. Loretta had invited me. She was very weak, but loved the game I got her. She was so frail, but smiled just the same. She was a very sweet person. RIP, I am so glad she had a long life. You never deserved the pain you went through.

07/25/16 05:02 PM #3    

Jill Fisher (Jay)


This article has been taken from the QC Times Sunday, July 24, 2016.  According to her sister Loretta, Ellen only had 2 transplants, but I still felt the article was worth posting.

First Q-C dialysis patient, kidneytransplant recipient dies

Ellen Welsh was so ill she was not supposed to live past her childhood.  But she outlived her prognosis by decades, and died Thursday as the longest-surviving-kidney-transplant patient in Iowa.

When she was barely a toddler, doctors diagnosed Welch with polycystic kidney disease, which destroyed her first kidney when she was 4, according to her sister, Julianne Kout, of Lawler, Iowa.

When Welsh was born Nov. 11, 1952, there wasn't much financial or medical help for her, Kout remembers.

By 1962, Kout said in a letter, Welsh needed weekly dialysis to stay alive.  The family traveled from Bettendorf to Iowa City for the procedure until Dr. Edwin Motto obtained a hemodialysis unit for what then was St. Luke's Hospital in Davenport.

Motto opened the unit in April 1970 at St. Luke's.  At that time, Welsh's doctors said she was the first dialysis patient in Davenport.

On September 15, 1976, Welsh became the first Quad City resident, according to her doctors, to undergo a successful kidney transplant.  Longtime Quad City Times columnist Bill Wundram wrote about the operation Sept. 15, 1991, to acklowledge the 15th anniversary of Welsh's new kidney.

Doctors at Universiry Hospitals, Iowa City hoped that the kidney would last five years. (continue)


07/25/16 05:08 PM #4    

Jill Fisher (Jay)

Continued:  "Well, it's 15 years later - the same kidney, and it's a wonderful life," Welsh said in 1991 while she prepared to throw a birthday party for her kidney.  At the time, she worked as a cashier and ran the lawn and garden department at Handy Try-Value Hardware in Rock Island.

Previously, her body rejected a donor kidney from a motorcyclish who was killed in a crash.  The organ rejection came two days after the survery and she spent three months in intensive care.

Welsh was home within two weeks after the successful second transplant, a kidney from a Sioux City man killed in a traffic crash.

Because of her health, it took her six years to graduate high school.  All the while, her classmates and friends held fundraisers for Welsh's care and her surgery.

Welsh was able to attend her senior prom, Kout remembers.  She then attended Kirkwood Community College, where she earned a degree in floriculture and went on to become a master gardener.

Eventually, Weslh had two more kidney transplants, according to Kout.  (I think this is the incorrect part, according to Lorretta)

Welsh, who was on disability because of her health condition, lived at the Iowa Masonic Health Facilities in Bettendorf.

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