Ray Howell Welch, 86, Hays, died Friday Aug. 25, 2017, at Via Christi Nursing Home in Hays.

He was born June 29, 1931, in Cherokee Okla., to Silas “Olen” and Thelma Welch. He graduated from Cherokee, Okla., High School.

He married Virginia (Dupus) Welch on Nov. 24, 1951. She preceded him in death. They owned and operated Welch’s Flowers & Greenhouse in Plainville for almost 50 years. In his early flower shop years he helped plant and pick 5 acres of Peony plants by hand for graves on Memorial Day. Their flower shop and greenhouse was next to the fire department so when the fire whistle blew, he would open the garage doors to the firehouse to save the firefighters time. Even though he was scared of the height, as a young man, he traveled the country painting grain elevators. At first, he told his employer he would only help until they got 50 foot off the ground, but once they got that high he kept telling them “I’ll go two more feet,” until he ended up at the top.

Survivors include two grandsons, Heath Welch, Manhattan, and Trinten Wille and wife, Meliss, Salina; two granddaughters, Tiffany (Welch) Becker and husband, Shaun, Logan and Tristina Herl and husband, Bryan, Hutchinson; and three great-grandchildren, Graysen, Clayton and Reagan Becker.

He was preceded in death by two sons, Ronnie and Randy; and a grandson, Lucas.

Private burial will be at a later date in Plainville; cremation has taken place.

Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel & Crematory, 2509 Vine, Hays, KS 67601 is in charge of arrangements.

Condolences can be sent to the family at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com or via email at keithleyfuneralchapels@gmail.com.