Who was he: At an age when most people are enjoying their retirement, Robert Welch decided to found an organization to promote what he believed are ideals of Americanism in order to battle the overwhelming wave of communism Welch saw taking over numerous countries and its prominent influence in America throughout his lifetime.
Welch devoted the rest of his life from age 58 to founding and leading the John Birch Society, devoted to returning America to free-market constitutionalist fundamentals.
Along the way, Robert Welch collected detractors from both the mainstream and alternative media. The mainstream media labeled JBS a racist, anti-Semitic conspiracy group. The alternative media claimed Welch and JBS were merely the other side of a Hegelian dialectic sponsored by no less than David Rockefeller himself.
Background: A child prodigy, Robert Henry Winborne Welch Jr. entered high school at age 10 and graduated near the top of his class two years later. Welch then entered the University of North Carolina and graduated in 1916 at age 16, then enrolled into Annapolis Naval Academy.
Robert Welch left a few years later and dipped his creative toe into journalism. He became a syndicated columnist just before he decided to take a Merchant Marine position. Unfortunately, Congress ended the program seven days before Welch was to leave. Welch then knew he had to find an occupation that would allow him to flourish, especially for him to make time for his academic interests.
In the fall of 1919, Welch enrolled in Harvard Law School but by 1922, Welch had had enough of the school and dropped out to launch the Oxford Candy Company. In 1926, Welch invented the Sugar Daddy candy and sales skyrocketed. Welch left the company he worked so hard to build after a dispute with management and started again. Eventually, Welch ended up working for his brother at the James O. Welch Company from 1935 until he "retired" in 1956 to found The John Birch Society in 1958.
Robert Welch had an extremely sharp memory with which he used to recite, for hours, poetry he had read 50 years ago. But that memory and his very deep knowledge of history could also be a hindrance, for Welch could hardly give a short answer to a question, which tended to infuriate those in the media looking for quick sound bites. Welch guided JBS through its first three decades until his passing in 1985.