Ronald E. Welty was born in Winona, Minn., on Dec. 7, 1934, to Earle and Virginia Welty. They lived in Minnesota, Louisiana and North Carolina and their family moved to Corvallis in 1982. Ron and Terrie had two children, Beth Welty and Kurt Welty. He grew up in Winona and graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1952 and Winona State University in 1956. He taught biology, chemistry and Junior High School science at Barnum, Minn., 1956-1957. Due to a military deferment during college, he received his draft notice during his first year of teaching and entered the U.S. Army in June 1957. He served in Louisiana, Georgia and Arizona and returned to Barnum to continue teaching science in 1958.
In fall of 1959, he entered graduate school at the University of Minnesota, received a Master of Science in 1961 and Ph.D. in 1965 majoring in Plant Pathology and minoring in Entomology. He accepted a post-doctoral research associate position in the Department of Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh in 1965, and was appointed assistant professor in 1966, associate professor in 1970 and professor in 1976. He held a joint appointment as research plant pathologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
Ron and Terrie were married on January 27, 1962. Their daughter, Beth, and son, Kurt, were born while the couple lived in Raleigh. In 1982, Ron and Terrie moved their family to Corvallis when Ron was appointed as research leader/research plant pathologist at the U.S.D.A. Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit. He was also appointed professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University. Ron studied fungal diseases of grasses grown for seed and managed nine research programs dealing with cool-season grasses. He authored or co-authored 136 research publications, book chapters, or abstracted published in national and international journals. He presented research reports and led discussion sessions at national and international meetings and symposia in England, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Germany. In addition to research, Ron managed the construction and staffing of the U.S.D.A. National Forage Seed Production Research Center on the campus of OSU. He served on graduate student advisor committees and supervised students for M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at North Carolina State University and Oregon State University. He was a member of the American Phytopathological Society, American Mycological Society, Gamma Sigma Delta and Sigma XI. He retired in April 1996.
Before his death on January 27, 2014, Ron and Terrie enjoyed family and friends. Ron’s interests included barbershop singing, hiking, white-water rafting, golf, fishing, cross-country skiing, cooking, and bridge. They both loved dinner parties with friends. He volunteered in community projects including American Legion baseball, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, YMCA Indian Guides and programs to aid needy people. Ron and Terrie loved to travel and visited all 50 states, 23 foreign countries, including elder hostel visits to Panama and Mexico, and participated in Rotary Friendship Exchange visits in England (2002) and Australia (2007). Ron was active in the Rotary Club of Corvallis for 28 years, serving or chairing numerous committees; he was elected club president in 1993-1994 and became an honorary member in 2009. Ron and Terrie hosted or entertained 23 inbound or outbound Rotary Youth Exchange students from 10 countries.
Ron and Terrie established the Ronald E. & Terrill Johnson Welty Family Memorial Fund in 2001. The fund provides an annual distribution to the Corvallis Assistance League for the Operation School Bell program.