Frank C. Pooch, 94, passed away July 13, 2019

Frank C. Pooch, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Pooch Welding Supply Company, passed away peacefully at age 94 on Saturday, July 13, 2019. In keeping with his wishes, there will be no funeral or visitation. A private family entombment ceremony has taken place at North Shore Memory Gardens. Services are being conducted by Starks & Menchinger Chapel, St. Joseph, MI. Memorial contributions may be made in Frank's memory to the Salvation Army of Benton Harbor or the Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at

Frank was born on September 6, 1924, in St. Joseph, Michigan to Frank C. Pooch, Sr. and Edith M. (Hasse) Pooch. He was educated in St. Joseph Public Schools. In December 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served his country, assigned to the 5th Air Force during World War II. He spent his entire military career stationed in the South Pacific Theater at bases from New Guinea to the Philippines. He was honorably discharged from the service as a Corporal at the war's end in November 1945.

He married Rose Kucharzyk in 1950, a marriage that lasted 34 years until her death in 1984. Also, in 1950, he started his career in the welding supply industry as a route salesman for a local distribution company. Over 25 years, he became part owner of the company and a company officer.

In May 1975, at age 50, Frank started Pooch Welding Supply Company. A real example of the American dream, he was passionate about his company and was often first to come in and last to leave at night. Many people relied on his extensive knowledge of welding procedures and industrial gases, and they appreciated his commitment to providing quality products and excellent customer support. For more than 37 years, Pooch Welding Supply served the needs of a wide variety of customers and grew to become a leading supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, and welding supplies in southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana.

At age 75, he retired and turned operation of the company to his daughter, Debra Small, and son-in-law, John Small. He continued as Chairman of the Board until the company was sold in 2012.

Frank was a member of the American Welding Society (AWS) and the National Welding Supply Association (NWSA), which became the Gases and Welding Distributors Association (GAWDA).

He enjoyed spending his winters in Mexico, Arizona and Florida. He loved deep sea fishing and the excitement of a trophy-worthy catch.

Frank is survived by his daughter, Debra (Pooch) Small; son-in-law, John Small of Benton Harbor; his sister, Dorothy (Walter) Hora of St. Joseph and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; Frank and Edith Pooch; his wife, Rose; and sisters, Mary Jane {Robert) Starner; Edith (Charles) Hill and Minnie Lou Pooch. 

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