Hank Welfel Jr., Victoria County Justice of the Peace, dies at 58
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Hank Welfel Jr., a dedicated father and husband who spent half his life as a Victoria attorney and the past five years as a justice of the peace, died Monday. He was 58.
His daughter, Kara Janak, of Victoria, said he was incredibly unselfish.
"Besides fantastic dad or great dad, he was a wonderful person," she said.
She said the family is "doing the best we can right now."
Welfel grew up in Shiner and was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Victoria.
Thinking back on the time she and her father had together, Janek said he made sure she never went without. They always made time for family bonding and summer vacations, even when he was busy practicing law.
In November, he performed her wedding vows.
"It was very emotional, I'm glad he got to do it," she said. "It was very exciting."
Welfel, won the Precinct 4 judge seat in 2007 as a Republican.
Michael Cloud, chairman of the Republican Party, released a statement Monday extending condolences to Welfel's wife, Nancy, daughter and extended family.
"As a Navy veteran, Sunday school teacher, public servant and long-time Victoria resident, Hank has been an asset to our community and a dear friend to those who had the privilege to know him," Cloud said in the statement. "He will be missed."
County Judge Don Pozzi said Welfel was a good justice of the peace.
"He's well thought of in this community and has done an outstanding job," Pozzi said.
The commissioners court is expected to make an announcement next week on its plan to appoint someone to the office.
Pozzi said it is too late to have the position on the November ballot, and said the appointment will likely be for the remainder of the term, which expires in December 2014.
Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Richard Castillo said while he was a constable he got to know Welfel.
"He was very professional and real outgoing," Castillo said. "He'd help you at the drop of a hat."
Welfel's willingness to assist others was a shining characteristic.
When he became ill, the other three justices of the peace adopted that same philosophy, Castillo said.
"He would step up to help anybody, so we pitched in for him ... so he wouldn't have to worry about anything," Castillo said. "He's going to be missed."
Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Robert Whitaker and Welfel were elected to office the same year.
Whitaker said the news came as a shock Monday morning.
"I extend my sympathies and prayers to Hank's family," Whitaker said.
Funeral arrangements are pending with Grace Funeral Home.