Cover photo for Larry Welch's Obituary
1936 Larry 2021

Larry Welch

January 23, 1936 — April 7, 2021

Olathe, Kansas

**For floral deliveries to the church in Leawood on April 15th, you may order online at or use the florist of your choice in Leawood.

Larry Dee Welch, 85, died Wednesday, April 7, 2021, at his home in Olathe, Kansas, surrounded by family.

Larry was born January 23, 1936, in Blackwell, Oklahoma, the son of Marion and Juanita Welch. The family moved to Sterling, Kansas and then St. John, Kansas, where Larry attended high school, graduating in 1954. In September of 1952, Larry attended the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas, where he saw Shirley Ann Barnes, the majorette of the Macksville Mustangs marching band. Their love story began that day  well, Larry’s did, as it took Shirley just a bit longer to realize they were destined to be together. They married in August of 1956 and lived a wonderful life together for 59 years until Shirley’s passing in October of 2015.

While in the 6th grade Larry decided he wanted to be a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and in high school he wrote letters to the FBI offering his services. The FBI informed him his best chances of becoming an agent were to either study accounting or law. His life long aversion to math made that a simple decision. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1958 he attended the University of Kansas School of Law and graduated in 1961. He joined the FBI that year and assignments followed at Knoxville, Tennessee; Washington, D.C.; Miami, Florida; West Palm Beach, Florida; San Juan, Puerto Rico; San Antonio, Texas; McAllen, Texas; Kansas City and Wichita. At Wichita he supervised FBI operations in Kansas. During his FBI career he served on the protective detail for then U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy; investigated the criminal activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Tennessee, Florida and Texas; and assisted in the apprehension of innumerable murderers, bank robbers and kidnappers.

Upon retirement from the FBI in 1986, Larry became associate director at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) in Yoder. Promoted to director of that facility in 1989, he resigned in July, 1994, to accept appointment by Attorney General Robert Stephan as director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI). While at KLETC he was asked by the U.S. Department of Justice to travel to Panama to assist in the creation of national police training for that country.

He served as the Director of the KBI until his retirement in May, 2007. He subsequently authored Beyond Cold Blood: The KBI from Ma Barker to BTK which he described as “a history of the KBI, not the history of the KBI”. The book was a labor of love to share the remarkable history of the KBI, an organization he was so proud to have led.

He was preceded in death by his loving partner and wife Shirley Welch; his parents Marion and Juanita Welch and his sister Marcia Koelsch. Survivors include his three children Ladd (Shelly) of Olathe; Lanny (Janell) of Wichita; and Laurie Brown (Brian) of Olathe; eight grandchildren; three great grandchildren; and his sister Jana Williamson of Emporia.

Larry will be remembered for his sense of humor and for being one of the greatest grandpas who ever lived. The family is certain there has never been a grandfather who watched more grandchildren play baseball, football, tennis, volleyball, basketball, and softball or who attended more debate tournaments and dance recitals. He was a fiercely proud Kansan and University of Kansas graduate. Larry was awarded lifetime memberships in the FBI National Academy, the Kansas Sheriff’s Association, the Kansas Peace Officer’s Association and the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police and was honored to have served each of those organizations.

Services will be held at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, 13720 Roe Ave., Leawood, Kansas, on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Masks required. Burial will be 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 16, 2021 at the Fairview Park Cemetery, St. John, Kansas.   Arrangements are being handled by Minnis Chapel, St. John, Kansas, telephone (620) 549-3556; In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the KU Cancer Center.  Memorial gifts for Larry Welch should be sent to KU Endowment, c/o Krista  Allen, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Ste. 300, KC, KS  66103 or make a gift online at

The family invites you to drink a Cutty Sark on the rocks in Larry’s honor.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Larry Welch, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

13720 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66224

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Graveside Service

Friday, April 16, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Central time)

Fairview Park Cemetery

1600 S 1st St, DeKalb, IL 60115

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