Austin Dee Welch, 35, of Olathe, Kansas, passed away on February 14, 2023, at University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, surrounded by his family.
Born on May 14, 1987 in Liberal, Kansas, Austin had a zest for life that made him such a beloved son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend, and colleague. Moving around throughout his childhood, Austin never had an issue making new friends wherever he went. Friends and acquaintances alike often referred to him as the funniest person they knew. His quick wit, a flair for practical jokes, and sense of humor perfectly complimented his heartwarming demeanor, thoughtfulness, and compassion for others.
Austin graduated from the University of Kansas with a General Studies degree in History and Communications, and he was a proud member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Like the previous two generations of his immediate and extended family, he held a deep love for KU, especially Jayhawk basketball and football. Many memories were made watching and attending games with family and friends.
A respected colleague and confidant to the team at Compass Minerals, his eight years of unwavering work ethic were rewarded with multiple promotions throughout the sales department. Prior to Compass Minerals, Austin also had a very successful career as a Personal Banker with Chase Bank in Chicago.
In addition to his love of all–things sports (and sports memorabilia), Austin was an avid reader, a Jeopardy ace, and a learned traveler. Also a self-proclaimed “foodie,” he could always find the best up-and-coming and off-the-beaten-path restaurants to try out. He loved movies and often communicated using only his favorite lines—in character, of course. And the rich tradition of a long-standing (15-year) fantasy football league amongst fraternity brothers was punctuated by Austin notching a league win this past season. These memories and many more are why his young niece and nephew adored him as their hero.
Despite living with chronic lung disease that began in his mid-20’s, Austin never let his health challenges define him. He battled with dignity, courage and an unhindered sense of humor. It is nothing short of miraculous that his health challenges strengthened, rather than diminished, his perspective on life. He stayed positive even when in poor health, not “sweating the small stuff”. As his declining health made life increasingly more difficult, even seemingly impossible for a lot of days, he endured with poise and grace. Never would he allow pity to spoil the moment.
In December 2017, Austin was gifted with a double lung transplant to extend his life. He had an amazing support team, also known as his Transplant Champions: his immediate family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, co-workers, friends, his medical team, and his beloved dachshund named Foley. At the end of his life, true to his character, Austin paid his gift forward by being an organ donor himself. Coincidently, he passed away on National Organ Donor Day.
Austin is survived by his parents, Ladd and Shelly Welch, of Olathe, Kansas, his sister Natalie (Welch) Lowry, his brother-in-law Nicholas (Nic) Lowry and his twin niece and nephew, Jack Nicholas Lowry and Adilynn (Addy) Austin Lowry, all of Flower Mound, Texas. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, J. Courtney and Patricia Brown and his paternal grandparents, Larry and Shirley Welch.
Austin was truly one of a kind, and his infectious personality brought joy and laughter to those around him. Although he will be deeply missed, his love and legacy endure through all of us who were fortunate enough to walk the journey of life alongside such an amazing person.
A celebration of Austin’s life will be held at 2p.m. on Saturday, April 29th, at the University of Kansas-Edwards campus, 12600 S. Quivira Rd., Overland Park, KS 66213, followed by a casual reception. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Midwest Transplant Network, whose mission is saving lives by honoring the gift of organ and tissue donation with dignity and compassion. If possible, and in true Austin fashion, we request guests to wear either red and/or blue (or better yet, a KU shirt) to honor him.
A link to the Midwest Transplant Network monetary donations website can be found below.
Monetary Donations to
Midwest Transplant Network At Midwest Transplant Network, we are grateful for all monetary donations, which play an essential role in our lifesaving mission. All contributions support public education for organ, eye and tissue donation, as well as donor family services. Your donated funds help ensure that people have access to the information they need to make the right choice about donation. Midwest Transplant Network will send you a letter acknowledging your tax-deductible donation.
Contributions by Check: If you wish to send a check, please make it payable to “Midwest Transplant Network” and mail it to:
Midwest Transplant Network
1900 W. 47th Place, Suite 400
Westwood, KS 66205 Contributions Online: You may submit your donation via credit card through PayPal. Scan the OR code below or visit
mwtn.org/monetary-donation. When making a financial donation in someone’s honor, you may include the name of the person you are honoring and the contact information for the family. We will be glad to send acknowledgements to the family once your donation is received.
For more information about monetary donations, please contact us:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-262-1668.
Give Hope. Share Life.’
Austin was a wonderful soul. He will be missed.
Austin was always so enjoyable and helpful to me when I was supporting his customers at Compass Minerals. I will always remember his kindness and his smile. I will miss our KU Basketball conversations.
Austin was one of the kindest people I have ever met. Always smiling and full of optimism. He will be greatly missed.
So fortunate that I’m able to call Austin my cousin and friend. He made everyone feel so special, noticed, and loved. Austin was the funniest person I’ve ever known. Every member of my family had some kind of inside joke with Austin, and he would make sure to remind you of it very now and then on the family group chat. I look up to the way he handled his disease, making the most of all life had to offer. He will always be a role model to me just like I know he will be for his little niece and nephew. He is so missed. Love you Austin.
Austin and I had many conversations and laughs about the KU/Missouri rivalry. I will miss those great conversations. Austin was a pleasure to have as a peer and friend.
Dear Ladd and Shelly, This is Jackie Strawhecker. I was a coworker of Ladd’s at Brown’s Furniture. My heart goes out to you and you have been remarkable parents and a support for Austin. Such an awesome legacy of strength and positive outlook on life. Memories to hold dear.
As always, Jackie
So very sad, I randomly stumbled upon this today so close to his passing. My deepest sympathies and condolences to his entire family, I had the privilege of working with him at Compass Minerals and sitting next to him, he was always very gracious with his time and taking me under his wing. I’m grateful for getting the opportunity to know him. Such a sad loss. RIP!
I have never met someone with such quick wit. Everyone was lucky to have met Austin and have that connection in their life. He is truly missed and loved by all. Regardless of being an Astros fan 😉