Colleagues of former, longtime Violet Township trustee and businessman Gary P. Weltlich remembered him as a dedicated public servant and community member after his passing last week.

Born June 11, 1940, Weltlich was 78 when he died Nov. 19. He was a Violet Township trustee from 2000 to 2016.

"Gary was a dedicated citizen," said Terry Dunlap a Violet Township trustee who served a number of years alongside Weltlich. "He ran (for the office) because he had some thoughts and ideas for improving the community."

"Gary was a staunch advocate of this community who was a very caring and devoted trustee," said John Eisel, Violet Township's director of operations who served as the township's fire chief during most of Weltlich's tenure as a trustee.

"He was very passionate about workplace safety and a tremendous advocate for making sure that employees were safe in performing their duties."

Dunlap echoed those sentiments, saying Weltlich brought valuable business experience to township government and he was particularly interested in reducing workplace accidents.

"Sometimes, he and I butted heads, but the sparks ignited good things," Dunlap said. "It's been beneficial to all of our employees some of the things he brought to the table."

Dunlap said Weltlich was well known in business and workplace-safety circles throughout Ohio, including at various departments of state government.

He said Weltlich's knowledge of business trends and needs of growing companies helped Violet Township's economic development strategies.

That work included encouraging fellow township officials to form joint-economic-development districts with nearby municipalities that, over the years, sought to bolster local business recruitment and retention.

"He was able to keep us on the cutting edge of what was going on in central Ohio," Dunlap said. "I'm going to miss my friend."

Weltlich is survived by his wife of 40 years, Linda; two daughters, Kelly (Carl) McLaughlin and Lori (Donald) Thrower; three stepsons, Frank (Lorraine) Carioti, John (Sylvia) Carioti and Chris (Diane) Carioti; sister, Roberta Mauldin; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He was a graduate of Tri-State University (now called Trine University) in Angola, Indiana. He earned a master's degree in business administration and worked as a chemical engineer. Weltlich was semi-retired from a career that included holding executive positions at Akron-based B.F. Goodrich and other manufacturing companies in the aerospace industry when he took office as a trustee in January 2000, but continued to work at Auld Crafters, a Columbus company known for, among other things, producing the gold pants given to Ohio State football players after their teams defeat Michigan.

A memorial service for Weltlich was held Nov. 23 at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 268 Hill Road North, Pickerington.