Ithaca, NY


Sarah Coburn Welch, beloved mother, partner, sister and friend, age 51, of Ithaca, NY, passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2012, at home surrounded by her family.  Sarah was born on February 22, 1961, in Syracuse NY.  She was the sixth of eight children born to Nancy Scherrer Welch and Walter E. Welch.  Sarah graduated from Corcoran High School in 1979.  She then went on to Ithaca College and graduated cum laude with a bachelor's of arts in 1983.  Shortly after graduation, Sarah applied for a job at the Ithaca Bakery, was interviewed sitting on a milk crate, hired on the spot, and proceeded to work a 10-hour day.   From that day until the present Sarah worked in every department of the Ithaca Bakery.  At the height of her career she was the operations manager for three store locations.    Sarah was passionate about her work and thrived on the human connections she made there.

Sarah had an exuberance and love for life that touched us all. Whatever was before her she was able to meet it with enormous strength and positive energy. She could make even the hardest moments fun. Her ability to enjoy life and play brought so much joy to all who knew her.

Sarah was an avid sports fan and her number one team is the Syracuse Orangemen. When Sarah watched her team play she would fill the room with cheers loud enough to be heard from Ithaca to the Carrier Dome. And when it was baseball season and her son Conor was playing she was the happiest she could be. No matter her obstacles she made an effort to be at every one of Conor’s games.

Sarah had a deep love of the written word and shared this passion with her daughter Hannah who has a gift for writing. Sarah was touched many times by Hannah’s writing and they enjoyed a lifetime of sharing books.

Sarah loved to spend time in nature whether it be sitting beside Cayuga lake, walking in the woods, having a cup of tea on the front porch of her log home or visiting her beloved Orr’s Island in Maine. Her spirit was always fed by the amazing beauty of the natural world. She in turn offered this gift to all of us.

Sarah will be especially remembered for the way she touched all who met her whether it was a long time friendship or a moment in passing. She had a stunning ability to see and reflect the true beauty of a person. She lived life with a level of sincerity and kindness that will stay with us always. This was reflected not only in her many deep friendships but also in her volunteer work on the board of Suicide Prevention and with Hospicare of Ithaca.


Sarah is survived by her former husband, Mark Utter, with whom she spent many happy years, and her most amazing children, Hannah Munro and Conor Michael, whom she cherished.  She leaves behind the love of her life, Carrie Stearns, and Carrie's daughters, Anna and Rayna Joyce, for whom Sarah was a second mother.   Sarah is also survived by her incredible siblings Michael Welch (Joan), of Syracuse; George Welch, of Cheshire, CT; Nancy Congdon (Bob), of Groton, CT; David Welch, of Syracuse; Martha Bugin (David), of Syracuse; Mark Welch, of Clearwater, FL; ten nieces and nephews, one grand-niece and one grand-nephew.  She was predeceased by her brother, Gregory Welch, and her parents.

Sarah and her family would like to give the greatest of thanks to the team of doctors and nurses at the Wilmot Cancer Center of Strong Memorial Hospital. Dr Jane Liesveld oversaw Sarah’s care with great professionalism and kindness and for this we are so grateful. Similarly the care at the office of Dr. Garbo gave Sarah all that she needed locally for support through her illness. In Sarah’s final weeks she received excellent care from Hospicare (thank you to nurse Kirsten and Go Bluestockings!).

Sarah's family received friends on Sunday, September 23rd at the Lansing Funeral Home.  A funeral service, officiated by Rev. Janet Shortall, will be held on Monday, September 24th at 12pm at First Unitarian Church, 306 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY, followed by burial at Greensprings Natural Cemetery, 293 Irish Hill Rd., Newfield, NY.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Sarah’s memory to Hospicare, 172 E. King Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 or Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services, 124 E. Court St., Ithaca, NY 14850.