Community remembers Paul Welday

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published May 4, 2016

 Paul Welday

Paul Welday

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilwoman Valerie Knol’s husband, Paul Welday, was her biggest cheerleader, she said.

Welday, 57, died April 25, and throughout the area, many in the political community have come forth to say how their friend and associate supported them too.

Welday was a principal partner at Lansing-based Superior Capitol Consulting, a government and public affairs consulting firm, according to the firm’s website.

Welday was well-known in the political community. It was evident by local politicians such as state Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, who gave a statement April 26: 

“I’m here today because I lost a friend. Many of us knew this friend because we all considered him to be a friend,” Knollenberg said, adding that Welday was part of his family too. “He was a friend whom I associated with in business. I was a client of his, and he was a client of mine. We were friends in a social setting. He is someone I have known for over 35 years.” 

He added that when he woke up the following morning, April 25, he saw messages, but he did not believe the news at first.

“I had tears in my eyes. I felt like a dagger was put through my heart. I don’t have many people whom I can say this about, other than my mom, dad, my wife and my brother. This person was a part of our family.”

 Knollenberg also said that his friend loved politics and loved to debate. He knew his political issues frontward and backward. 

“I went to him on a number of issues trying to get a handle on what were the pros and cons of a particular issue. He was very helpful to me and to many of you,” he said. “As policymakers, we should understand all sides of issues, and he was one of those people to whom I went to understand these issues.”

Knol echoed Knollenberg’s statement and said that while her husband loved to discuss issues, if he did not agree with you, he could agree to disagree.

“He was a friend to many people. Even if you disagreed, he was still your friend,” she said, adding that he would support people on their campaigns, and helped mentor them too.

 U.S Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, also issued a statement on Welday:

“I am shocked and extremely saddened by the news of Paul’s sudden passing. He was a good friend whose compassion and excitement for public service was contagious, and he never turned down an opportunity to mentor others and share his political insight. To Paul’s beautiful family, I express my most sincere condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time,” she said.

State Rep. Christine Greig, D-Farmington Hills, also gave a statement, and said the community mourns Welday’s passing.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to Farmington Hills Mayor Pro Tem Valerie Knol and her family on the passing of her husband, Paul Welday. Mr. Welday was an active community member, including serving as the treasurer of the Farmington Youth Assistance, an organization dedicated to serving the youth in our community.”

Welday was heavily involved in business and public affairs for the past three decades, since the early 1980s.

He started his professional career as a legislative assistant in Washington, D.C., to U.S. Rep. Jack F. Kemp, R-New York.

According to Superior Capitol’s website, Welday was a frequent guest on Michigan radio and television stations, where he discussed politics and public affairs on local, state, and national levels. Welday was a former member of the Farmington Hills Planning Commission and a member of the Farmington/Farmington Hills Chamber of Commerce at the time of his passing. He has served on the boards of the Oakland Literacy Council and the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of Oakland County, according to the firm’s website.

He graduated from the James Madison College at Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in justice, morality and constitutional democracy, according to the website.

Knol said she came home after an April 25 City Council meeting and found Welday unresponsive.

“I was the one who found him,” she said, adding that medical officials were not able to revive him.

The cause of death was inconclusive as of press time, and autopsy results should be known in the next several weeks. 

Knol added that rumors have been out there about how her husband died, but they are not true because the cause of death has yet to be determined.

Knol said the community has stepped up in a big way by returning the much-needed support.

“I had overwhelming support from the community and friends,” she said. “It’s been helpful and supportive to know how much people have loved (him).” 

Knol said her husband was a “wonderful man.” 

“He loved me and his family dearly,” she said, adding that he was supportive of everything she did and always encouraged her and others. 

“He was very giving, a larger-than-life personality and very gregarious,” Knol said, adding that he loved people and had a great intellect. 

Welday is survived by Knol; his son, Nicholas; and his daughter, Natalie, according to a published report.

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