Jack Welch is a man you want to listen to. He has a smile that is gentle and endearing, and a personality that lets you know you are in the presence of someone genuinely good. At the age of 99, Jack has had a lot of practice doing the right things in life, and he was more than happy to share his memories and insights into his rich, rewarding life.

jack welch

Born in Christchurch, he worked ruling lines on paper in a printing factory before the World War 2, and when he returned from active duty, he moved to Wellington.

The Coast came calling in 1956, when Jack opened a fruit shop in Paekakariki – the place he called home for the next 30 years. It was during this period that he decided he had the ability to do more than print lines and sell fruit and veg, so Jack became a successful real estate agent.

It may sound like Jack was moving between jobs, but in fact he was a man who stuck at the things he did, he just happened to be a man who did a lot of things.

A key theme in Jack’s life is honesty, a quality he has strived to uphold his entire life, back quest he believes has been made easier through being a committed Christian.
“When I came to know The Lord, I found it helped me every day in the things I did, and the decisions I made. ”

The love of Jack’s life is Alice, and he believes honesty played an important role in their marriage.

“I was married to Alice for 56 years. She had lovely dark hair and a round face. I went out with her once or twice, and we had good companionship, and she was very honest, and within a year we were married in Temuka. We were sitting at Oriental Parade in Wellington, and I proposed to her sitting there on the beach.”

Looking at the world today, Jack is saddened by the way things have gone. Ever the gentlemen, Jack manages to get across his displeasure in a gentle way. Still with a half smile, his words paint a bleak picture.

“The world has gone terrible. Honesty is missing, the intention of doing good is not there like it used to be. People do what they want to do in their daily life, and that’s not always the best.
Honest living is better. You have better friends.”

His face brightens at the memory of how honesty played out in his life.

“One day the woman working in my fruit shop was serving a lady, and I was standing beside her, and I saw that she was charging an extra penny on everything that lady bought. I told her I knew what she was doing, and she replied. “That lady eats the grapes when she comes in, so that’s my way of getting her to pay.”

Jack’s advice to the men of today?

“Be natural, be caring and loving. If you’re honest and caring in life, you’ll get that care and that love back.”