AAPS, The Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences

AAPS, Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences

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James Robert Welch 1951 - 1988

James was an early member of AAPS, and served as Vice President of the association during 1986-1988.

He operated Montana Geological Materials in Billings, Montana. Jim was a very active collector and researcher who specialized in fossil invertebrates from Montana. Jim always strived to place his most significant paleontological invertebrate discoveries into museum collections.

He made many significant discoveries, and tried to get scientifically important specimens into the hands of researchers. He published the following article in the Journal of Paleontology;
The Asteroid, Lepidasterella montanensis n. sp., from the Upper Mississippian Bear Gulch Limestone of Montana, James R. Welch, Journal of Paleontology, Vol. 58, No. 3 (May, 1984), pp. 843-851

Jim died of a heart attack while collecting Permian invertebrate fossils at Glass Mountain, Texas on Sunday May 22,1988.

The James R. Welch Scholarship, named in his honor, is awarded to graduate level students who study and work on macro invertebrate fossils. AAPS initiated this scholarship in 1990 in order to encourage students interested in paleontological invertebrate studies.

His obituary published in the Billings Gazette on Thursday May 26th, is copied below.

"James R. Welch was a petroleum geologist doing exploration and consulting work for several Billings based oil companies. He was an expert invertebrate paleontologist and a superb fossil preparator. He contributed numerous papers to scientific journals including one in which he described and named a new species of fossil starfish that he discovered in Montana.

He operated a fossil supply company, Montana Geological Materials, and had recently supplied specimens to both the British Museum of Natural History, the Moscow Paleontological Institute and a museum in Kyoto, Japan.

He was a member of Montana Geological Society and a member of the American Association of petroleum geologists and was president of American Association of Paleontological Suppliers. A skilled woodworker, he enjoyed bird watching, growing succulent plants and bromeliads, building model planes and photography. He had a wry sense of humor and enjoyed Gary Larson cartoons.

Mr. Welch, 37, of 1708 Clark Ave., died Sunday of a heart attack while in the glass mountains of Texas collecting the fossils he loved.

Born in Pana, Ill., a son of Bill and Bonnie Welch, he attended Pana schools and graduated from the University of Montana and Indiana University. On November 28, 1980 he married Nancy Lear in Red Lodge.

Survivors include his wife; His parents of Pana; his sister Jennifer of Hamburg, Germany: and his grandmother Ethel Wright of Oconee, Ill.

For services, the procession will leave Dahl Funeral Chapel at 10:00 AM Friday for burial and sunset Memorial Gardens."

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Last Updated: September 22, 2021
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