Arizona Army National Guard Master Sergeant John "Jack" Welch — who lived a life full of humor, love of family, helping others and military service — passed away at age 38 on Saturday, Dec. 15, surrounded by family and friends. He heroically fought T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia for more than two years. After a gracious stranger donated her bone marrow cells, on March 31, 2017, Jack's family had the gift of another year and a half with him. Upon learning of Jack's passing, Gov. Doug Ducey, commander-in-chief of the Arizona Army National Guard, said Jack "served our country and our state with honor, and Arizona is grateful for his services." Jack held several leadership positions as a non-commissioned officer in the Guard. Jack leaves behind his wife, Natalie Pasquale Welch, and daughters Ava Rae, 11, and Elliott Lucille, 6. Jack was happiest at frequent family get-togethers that included his sisters, Sarah Welch Westfall of Chandler and Nellie Welch Welter and her husband, Paul, of Tempe; his mother, Elizabeth "Beth" Wyand Welch of Chandler; his father, Leo, and stepmother, Mary Welch, of Chandler; maternal grandparents, Joe and Joan Kelly Wyand of Indianapolis; and many uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. Jack was known for his dry wit, joy of fatherhood, mentor to Guard members and love of Arizona sports teams, which he admitted was a challenge. Nothing really angered him except people who took life too seriously and those who leave grocery shopping carts in the parking lot. "Jack was everything you could ever ask for in a best friend. He was a kind-hearted spirit who was kindest when no one was watching," said Jared Harding, Jack's best friend since junior high school. "While Jack could provide wit and a joke to lighten the room, he didn't do things for attention. He did things for others and really cared about people — those around him and those who he helped. I was able to see that very special side of him," Jared said. Jack had a genuine love for his brothers and sisters in the Army. Many of his colleagues remember him for his courage, honor, humor in difficult situations, and the help he provided in mentoring troops and helping others adjust to the demands of military service. Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 2002, serving as an armor crewman in the 26th Infantry at Schweinfurt TC, Germany. From there he deployed in support of Operation lraqi Freedom. He was an M1 armor crewman in Iraq from February 2004 to February 2005 and earned the Combat Action Badge, along with the Iraq Campaign Ribbon (with Star) and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Other significant awards and medals include: the Army Commendation Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon 3rd, Army Overseas Ribbon and the Arizona Meritorious Service Medal. "We not only lost a friend, but somebody who was a wealth of knowledge," said Lt. Col. Peggy Grunewald, commanding officer of the 253rd Engineer Battalion in Florence, Ariz., where Jack served. "Jack knew the battalion better than anyone. He could literally fill in for anybody because of the breadth and depth of his knowledge." Jack was on the promotions list for master sergeant at the time of his passing, and the Army honored him by posthumously promoting him to master sergeant. His promotion ceremony will take place during graveside services. "We are very pleased to have been able to promote Jack," Grunewald said. "He was the most positive soldier we had, a glass-half-full kind of guy. Nobody can remember a time he had a negative thing to say. He was the kind of person people gravitated to because of his personality." Among the two dozen military training classes and schools Jack attended are Basic Combat Training, the Cavalry Scout Course, Warrior Leader Course and Combat Engineer Reclassification. Born on March 3, 1980, in Columbus, Ohio, Jack lived in Arizona for 33 years. He graduated from Gilbert High School in 1998 and earned an Associate in Arts from Mesa Community College in 2017. The family will receive friends and colleagues Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Resurrection Catholic Church, 3201 S. Evergreen Rd., Tempe. Sister Maria Christina Linares will lead a Rosary Service at the church at 5:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 2121 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, with the Rev. Fr. John Bonavitacola, pastor, officiating. Burial with full military honors will begin at 2 p.m. at National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 Cave Creek Road, Phoenix. Richardson Funeral Home, Tempe, Arizona is compassionately serving the family.