William Edgerton “Bill Aka-Lighting” Welch was born on June 29, 1940, in Chillicothe, Missouri, passed away on April 8, 2023, at the age of 82. Bill was born and raised in Chillicothe, Missouri and resided in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area for 23 years.
Bill was a fourth generation Chairman of the Board for Citizens Bank & Trust. His Great Great Great Grandfather founded Citizens Bank & Trust of Missouri in 1889, which was the largest independently owned bank in Missouri. Forbes magazine featured Bill and his father Edgerton “Ketchie” Welch for being the number one performing mutual fund in the nation for several years.
Bill had a great love and passion for the game of baseball. He played baseball for Lawrenceville School (preparatory school) in New Jersey and Avon Old Farms in Avon, Connecticut. At 18 years old, he was the youngest player at the time to make the All-Star team in the Southern Minnesota League. Bill attended the University of Arizona, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and played baseball. In addition to his baseball career Bill was an author and inventor of the patented Baseball Analysis and Reporting System, known as BARS. This system was the first of its kind and was the very beginning of computerized baseball scouting and forecasting. The BARS system was used by the Kansas City Royals in 1985, and the Cincinnati Reds in 1990, in which both teams won the World Series. During this time he was a scout and traveled with the founder and owner of the Kansas City Royals, Ewing Kauffman. Bill and a friend also invented the Pro-Down marker for professional and college football, which are currently used in today’s football games.
Bill is the Author of the book, “The 10th Man”, along with 9 other baseball books. He was commonly referred to as “a man ahead of his time” and “the Grandfather of the gaming program” due to his accomplishment of being the first to have a computerized gaming program and the first person to patent the programming and gaming process before the internet was created.
Bill is preceded in death by his father, Edgerton “Ketchie” Welch and mother, Mary McLin Welch both from Chillicothe, Mo; Step-mother, Emma Ruth Welch; one sister, Sarah “Sally” Welch Young. Survivors include his wife, Gina Lott Welch; step-son, Brandon Gilmore (Krista); two grandsons, Hunter and Holden; brothers-in-law, Robert Lott and Ricky Lott (Barbara);sisters-in-law: Cindy Simmons, Susan Wiles and Karla Lott (Lance); one nephew, William (Bill) Young; one niece, Abigail Young Hayo ; several great nephews and one great niece; Loving friends: Jon Diggetts, Robert (Fluffy) Pinson, Robert (Bob) Wilhite, Harvey Donoho, Lance Long, Ed Robertson, Margaret Head and Ester Houston, Larry Melte, Bob Stewart, Tommy Hefner, Jack Smith and many more.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Bill Welch Memorial Fund at P.O. Box 1728, Purvis, MS
Visitation will be held Monday, April 17, 2023 at Forrest Funeral Home, 1258 Richburg Rd. Hattiesburg,
MS, at 2:00 p.m. and funeral service at 3:00 p.m. with burial to follow at Countyline Cemetery in Ovett, MS.