Wife of man who died in mudslide hopes others find closure soon

by: Natasha Chen Updated:

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ARLINGTON, Wash. —

People with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office visited Barbara Welsh Thursday, telling her what she had known deep down for almost a week: her husband was dead.

66-year-old Bill Welsh left their Arlington house Saturday morning to help install a water heater at Amanda Lennick’s house on Steelhead Drive.

He was working with Stephen Neal. Another man, Steven Hadaway, was installing a satellite dish at the house.

Welsh and Neal have been found, but Lennick and Hadaway are still missing.

Welsh, an electrician, was married to his wife, Barbara, for 43 years.

“At least I know he’s in heaven with his parents, you know. They were probably shocked to see him come before others. I love him so dearly,” Barbara Welsh said.

Governor Inslee even consoled Welsh in the first couple of days. But Welsh waited a total of five days before the final word.

Welsh said Bill was always attentive and considerate, making sure she got everything she wanted.

“Bill always said that there was a reason that he survived Vietnam,” she said. He got to meet Barbara.

He was also one to help anyone who needed a hand, which is why he was out on Steelhead Drive on a Saturday.

Barbara, a retired nursing assistant, loved going with Bill to bowling league events. They went shopping together, and she introduced him to gardening.

Bill’s shoes and his laptop still sit on the floor by their living room couch, and Welsh said she would likely leave them there as long as she can.

She reached out to the wife of Stephen Neal, who was working with Bill that day. Welsh said she hopes others with missing loved ones find their closure soon.

In her case, “what you think and what you know sometimes are a long ways apart, and hopefully it comes together, which it did,” she said.

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