Samuel Henry Welch was born in Carrollton, Georgia, in 1950 and grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. He is the son of the late Dale and Henry Welch of Monroeville.
Judge Welch attended public schools in Monroeville. In 1968, he entered Patrick Henry Junior College, (now Alabama Southern Community College) in Monroeville, where he was president of the freshman class. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Birmingham-Southern College in 1972. While attending Birmingham-Southern, he was selected to become a member of the service fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa.
He received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1976. While at the University of Alabama he was selected as an editor of the Law & Psychology Review. He was also selected for the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society and was awarded the American Jurisprudence Prize for Constitutional Law.
From 1976-1978, he was an associate in law firms in Birmingham and Demopolis. From 1978-1979, he was managing director of Pine Belt Legal Services, a University of Alabama Legal Aid Program, which served Monroe, Conecuh and Escambia counties. From 1979-1983, he practiced law in Monroeville in a solo law firm.
His prior judicial experience includes service from 1981-1983, as the Municipal Judge of the City of Monroeville; from 1983-1989, as the District Judge of Monroe County; and, from 1989-2007 as the sole judge of the 35th Judicial Circuit encompassing Monroe and Conecuh counties.
Judge Welch is a retired colonel in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps. He has served in the Alabama Air National Guard and Army Reserve since 1972. He is a veteran of the Gulf War, serving from 1990-1991 in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.
He is a member of American Legion Post 61 and James C. Marshall Post #8485, Veterans of Foreign Wars, in Monroeville.
He has served as a Boy Scout troop leader, Little League coach, member of the founding board of Monroeville Community Concerts, and in many civic projects with the Kiwanis Club. In 1984, he helped found and was president of Parents Awareness in Monroe County, a group to combat child abuse. Judge Welch is a lifelong member of First Baptist Church of Monroeville, where he has taught Sunday school and served as a counselor at Crosspoint.
He is married to the former Sandra Carol Phillips of Frisco City, Alabama. They have two children, Bryon, a Sergeant in the United States Army serving as a crew chief on Blackhawk helicopters, and Allison living in Atlanta, Georgia. Allison recently received her MBA, summa cum laude, and works at Porsche Motorworks. Sam and Carol are also blessed with a grandson, Benjamin Welch, and twin granddaughters, Lauren and Brooklyn Welch.