John W. Welu

John W. Welu, age 68, of Dubuque, Iowa, went home to the Lord on September 16, 2020, at the Mayo Clinic Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, surrounded by his loving family.  To honor John’s life, his Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 15, 2021, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., at the Eagle View Pavilion in Eagle Point Park, 2601 Shiras Avenue in Dubuque.  A Service of Remembrance will be held at 1:30 p.m. to allow his family and friends share their treasured memories together.  Burial will be in the Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque at a later date. The Tri-State Cremation Center is humbly serving John’s family.


John was born on April 14, 1952, in Dubuque, Iowa, a son to Peter D. and Grace (Mehl) Welu.  The family moved to Asbury, Iowa when John was one year old and this is where he spent his childhood playing baseball, participating in 4-H activities and helping a neighborhood farmer.  He met his beautiful bride, Betty Koethe, while they both worked at Montgomery Wards and they were married in 1973.


All who knew and loved John say he was best known as a Jack of all Trades, a family man, a farmer, and a fisherman; but, truth be known, he was so much more.  His trades included a front-end alignment specialist, guitarist, newspaper delivery man, farm equipment mechanic, maintenance electrician, softball coach, construction maintenance electrician, school bus driver and ready-mix truck driver.  He proudly invested his time and talents with Ray’s Bee-Line, K-Mart automotive, the Eldon Koethe Band, Telegraph Herald, Koethe Implement, FDL, Sherrill Softball League, Premier Tooling and Manufacturing, Dubuque Community School District, and Apex Concrete.


John made a lifelong dream come true by acquiring a cabin on Lake Inguadona in Longville, Minnesota, as a relaxing retreat for him and his family to escape the hectic life and create lifelong memories together.  In his free-time, John’s favorite activities were visiting or playing cards and games with his family and friends, fishing for bass, or sitting on his cabin porch to just relax. He even found time to quietly sit in his hunting blind waiting for the unsuspecting duck to cross his line of vision. 


John was a hard-working, kind, loyal and honest man who truly made the world a better place by simply being present within it.  His dedication to those he cared for was unwavering. And if you were blessed to have been invited into John’s inner circle of friends, you were quite often exposed to his quick wit and perfectly timed sense of humor as well. 


We have watched John fight the good fight against cancer for many years and our hearts now possess an unmendable tear as we watched him suddenly surrender his soul to his loving Lord and Savior. Thankfully, John has left behind a wonderful collection of memories, stories, and lessons for us to carry forward as we patiently wait for our eventual reunion with this uniquely rare breed of man among men. Thank you, John, for always being the best you could be through each and every day and may the peace you were so determined to know and possess, finally be yours. God Bless and God Speed John!   


Those left behind to cherish the memory of John include,


his loving wife, Betty Welu, Dubuque, Iowa;


his 3 adored children,

Stephanie (Gary) Otkin, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin;

Jess (Ana) Welu, Longville, Minnesota,

and Angel Welu, Dubuque, Iowa;


his 7 grandchildren,

Hayden Otkin, Ian Otkin, Ruby Otkin, John E. Welu, Jacob Paulsen, Salem Brown-Welu, and Wyatt Brown-Welu;


his siblings,

Peter R. “Dick” (Sharon) Welu, Dubuque, Iowa,

Paul (Charlene) Welu, Anoka, Minnesota,

Nancy Welu, Dubuque, Iowa,

and Sue (Neil) Spoden, Dyersville, Iowa;


along with numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.


John was preceded in death by his parents; his son, John Paul Welu; an unborn grandchild, Kai Welu; and his mother and father-in-law, Eldon F. and Irma (Gremmels) Koethe.


John’s family have a very special appreciation for Dr. Patrick B. Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., his Mayo oncologist and Elizabeth Lohmann P.A.-C., M.S., Hematology/Oncology, who are valued as professionals and friends. They want to send their gratitude to the many numerous doctors, nurses, technicians and staff at Mayo Clinic and Mayo Hospitals for all of their professional and personal care they provided to John and his family. A warm and sincere thank you goes to all of John’s family and friends who have been so supportive throughout John’s battle with cancer.  May God shine his eternal light and love on all of your lives.


In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made in John’s name to the Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Research through the Mayo Clinic Department of Development at 200 1st Street SW, Rochester, MN, 55905, or at


Online condolences may be shared with John’s family at



Celebration of Life

Eagle View Pavilion, Eagle Point Park
2601 Shiras Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001
May 15th, 2021 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Service of Remembrance

Eagle View Pavilion
2601 Shiras Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa, 52001
May 15th, 2021 at 1:30 PM

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