“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15
On Christmas day 2017, Charles Welner slipped from this life into the loving arms of his Savior. Better known to the Maranatha family as Coach Welner, he served as Maranatha’s athletic director from 1979 to 1988.
Coach Welner was born and raised in Maine. According to his biography on the website of Maranatha Baptist Church in Sebring, FL, he was saved at the age of six and baptized the next year.
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of New Hampshire, Welner coached and taught math at the high school level. Then in 1977, Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm asked him to come to Maranatha Baptist University (at the time called Maranatha Baptist Bible College) and start a football program at Maranatha Baptist Academy. He also taught mathematics in both the academy and college, and his wife Barabara served as a secretary.
He became the Athletic Director and head football coach of the college in 1979, while teaching mathematics, psychology, and other courses at the college level. He also received his formal Bible training at Maranatha.
The university’s current Athletic Director Rob Thompson said he had the privilege of attending Maranatha during Coach Welner’s tenure and took several of his classes in the Physical Education program.
“I always remember him fondly as a compassionate and caring teacher, coach and A.D.,” Thompson said. “Little did I realize then that I would someday walk in his shoes, and I am grateful for the example that he was to me, both on and off the field.”
After serving 11 years at Maranatha, Coach Welner became a Christian school administrator in Newington, CT, then Menomonee Falls, WI, and finally Williston, VT. He retired to Maranatha Village in Sebring, FL in 2013 and has served as a deacon and visitation pastor at Maranatha Baptist Church under the ministry of his former Maranatha colleague, Dr. Terry Price.
Coach Welner may be fondly remembered for his enjoyment of golfing, football, the Boston Red Sox and the Patriots, but above all, he will be remembered as someone who loved his family, loved people, and loved his Lord.