Gladys E. Welch


Gladys Combra Welch passed away peacefully in her home Saturday, December 5, 2020.

Gladys, the daughter of Ruth and Joseph (Doc Chic) Combra, was born September 30, 1930 and grew up in Oak Bluffs along with her sisters, Dorothy and Jane, and brothers Charlie and Warren. She married Neil A. Welch, the son of Milton and Rose Welch, on October 23, 1954. They had three children, Diane, Neil Jr., and Darren. 

Gladys took great pride in being a registered nurse. Her chosen career was one she shared with her mother. Starting out as a nurse’s aide in high school, Gladys went to school and nurse’s training at Morton Hospital in Taunton. She graduated in 1953, remaining lifelong friends with many of her classmates. Gladys’ career began at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She worked in the emergency room, operating room (her favorite), maternity, acute care, and the last 13 years in Windemere. Gladys’ co-workers described her as feisty, a firecracker, and “old school” which is something she was proud of. Her career lasted 59 years, ending in February 2010. State Representative Timothy Madden presented Gladys with a citation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts House of Representatives for “Your 59 years of selfless dedication to the care and rehabilitation of generations of Vineyarders.” 

Gladys is predeceased by her husband, Neil A. Welch, her son Neil A. Welch Jr. (Apple), and sisters Dorothy and Jane Maseda. She is survived by her daughter Diane and her sons Nathan Costa, Matthew Look, and Darren, his wife Amanda and their dogs Mya and Goose; her brothers Charlie and Warren Combra and numerous nieces, nephews, their children and cousins. She enjoyed keeping in touch with many. 

Family and friends were very important to Gladys. She called every holiday to wish them a happy day and catch up. She always had a smile and a well wish, sharing her sense of fun and quick wit with a strong hint of mischief as often as she could. Gladys hosted and attended many parties and there was always a funny story to tell the next day. Three years ago, Gladys and Lillian Colligan were getting picked up by a taxi to go to the firemen’s Christmas party. When they went to get in the car, the door fell off. They laughed and continued on to the party. 

Her family is thankful for friends and Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard nurse, Jackie, for the help and support they received during this difficult time. They are grateful to have had their mother’s sense of fun, generosity, duty, and service instilled in them, things they shared with their brother Neil. It’s now for Darren and Diane to carry on in memory of their mother and brother, something they’ll enjoy and think of fondly for the rest of their lives. 

A graveside service for Gladys and reception for Gladys and Neil Jr. will be held at a later date. 

Donations in Gladys’ memory can be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard,, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital – CNA Program (to help CNA’s continue their career in nursing). Please indicate CNA Program on the donation form, The family is grateful for your generosity.