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Death of Houston/Grampian Founding Father
Former Mayor of Houston, Louie Welch, who was instrumental in establishing the official twinning link between Grampian Region and the City of Houston, died on 27 January, 2008, aged 89.
When Grampian Regional Council Convener Councillor Sandy Mutch went to Texas in 1978 seeking to establish a Sister City relationship with American’s energy capital, he was advised to try to enlist the support of Ex-
Councillor Mutch later recalled, “Louie and I soon found we talked the same language. For one thing, we both had a background in the motor trade. But when I raised the subject of twinning, his reply set me back a little. He said, ‘Another name to go into the hat! We have 17 different places seeking a sister city relationship with Houston’.”
Happily, Mr Welch was won over and raised the matter with Houston City Council resulting in the official twinning charter being signed in Aberdeen in May,1979.
He then recruited Houston businessman C.Jim Stewart to head the Houston/Grampian Association to foster links with Scotland’s oil region and Mr Welch became a Founding Member.
He was first elected to Houston City Council in 1949 and served as Mayor from 1964 to 1973. During his time as civic chief Houston expanded rapidly to become America’s fourth largest city.
Former Mayor Bob Lanier described Welch as “one of Houston’s finest mayors – a good and decent man who loved public service and who fought to make people’s lives better.” The Houston Chronicle said he had been an adept administrator during a period of racial polarisation and a man whose efforts helped modernise Houston and brought it to national prominence.
After leaving City Hall, he remained an influential figure in Houston. Noted for his irreverent sense of humour, he once said, “I have taken my job very, very seriously but I have tried not to take myself seriously.”
Pictured during the first Grampian-
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