Longtime contributor to the Post-Standard, Welker Erich Hagenlocher, 94, of Chittenango, NY, died peacefully Dec. 30, 2022, at the Syracuse VAMC. Born April 17, 1928, in Baldwin, Long Island, he was the son of the late Erich and Margaretha Hagenlocher, of Berlin, Germany.
His father was the 1926 Balkline Billiards World Champion, his mother’s family owned the famed Café Zielka. Welker lived in Germany 1936-39, and was enrolled in the Jungvolk of the Hitler Youth. Returning to the U.S. with the onset of WW11, he attended Charles E. Gorton High School in Yonkers, NY. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1944, serving aboard the USS Castle Rock in the Pacific Theater, and later joined the Merchant Marine ‘47-‘49. He graduated from SMU with a BA in Journalism in 1952.
In one of his many summers working on Cape Cod, he met Helen Freitas Martins of E. Providence, R.I. They married in 1957 and raised three lovely daughters, Erica, Kirschen, and Gretchen. The family became involved with the Syracuse Chargers Track Club in 1971. Welker joined OCWA in 1975 until his retirement in 1996. He had a lifelong love for swimming, football, tennis, basketball, deep sea fishing, mountain climbing, and running long distance races, including 8 marathons. His other passions were Classical Music, F1 Gran Prix, Photography, Gastronomy, and World Travel, of which he counted the Society Islands, and the Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, among his favorite destinations. He traveled the length of the Trans Siberian Express, and in 2010, landed 542 lbs. of gamefish while sports fishing in the Seychelles (“Sea yields bounty to octogenarian”, Post-Standard, 2/20/2011).
A natural raconteur, blessed with an autobiographical memory and sparkling wit, he looked forward to sharing “Gemütlichkeit” with his many friends and acquaintances at Green Lakes State Park. Welk’s motto was, “Keep Movin’!” - his lifelong dedication to athleticism was an inspiration to All.
Attending his last wishes were beloved companions, Dee Murnane and her dog Gracie, eldest daughter, Erica Snowlake, and the caring staff of the Syracuse VA.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Green Lakes State Park in the Summer of 2023.
“Dragons live Forever, not so little boys.”
To have a memorial tree planted in an area of need in honor of Welker, please use the Send Flowers link to the left. To light a memorial candle, or leave a condolence for family, please visit his Tribute Wall.