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Opening Doors, As One Closes

Tuesday October 17, 2017 | Filed under:

I was saddened this week to learn of the unexpected passing of a long-time ASI colleague, Maria Welsh.

After several weeks of treatment, Maria was recuperating in a nursing facility after a hospital stay but, unfortunately, her health deteriorated from complications.

Maria joined ASI 31 years ago in the order processing department and served in a number of supervisory and “always willing to help” positions in finance and credit. 

As I told our staff, Maria was a real example for all of us in every way: Dealing with a number of health issues, over decades, but never a complaint and hardly a missed day. Greeting everyone with a smile and inquiring about how they were doing. Driving herself to work in her special van and getting into the office without any assistance, even though she couldn’t take more than a few steps without a walker, which she used to help her maneuver to her riding scooter.

We often arrived around the same time in the morning. I must’ve offered to help unload her scooter a few hundred times. But she never accepted. Not even in the rain or snow. Instead, using a remote control we installed to help her open a set of double doors at ASI’s entrance, Maria would often click open the door for me! “Don’t hold them for me,” she repeated a few days ago for the umpteenth time. “I’ll be a few more minutes out here. I’ve got my clicker.”

She enjoyed sewing and other crafts. One of her hobbies, which benefited a number of us at ASI, was making dog beds and other accessories that she sold at craft shows and gave to friends.

Maria loved to cook and graduated 35 years ago from the Culinary Institute of America. She often told me what she had cooked for dinner the night before for her and her mother, who is 91. They lived together.

Maria relished the discovery, probably a decade ago, that we both claimed “purple” as our favorite color. She often wore it, and I would always comment about any new purple outfit.

She even used purple tape on her scooter upholstery when it tore: “Gotta be purple, Tim.”

I will miss Maria tremendously, her smiles and her joyful outlook on life, even in the face of physical adversity.

Please remember Maria and her mother and family and this week join me in opening a few doors for people you care about. I sure will be.