UPDATED: Local Republican strategist, businessman Paul Welday dies

Family and friends are mourning the death of Farmington Hills resident Paul Welday, a long-time political consultant and former Oakland County Republican Party chair, who unexpectedly died Monday. He was 57.

A funeral service will be held April 30, 11 a.m., at St. John Lutheran Church, 23225 Gill Rd. in Farmington Hills. Visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 28 and 29, at Thayer-Rock Funeral Home, 33603 Grand River, Farmington.

As word spread Tuesday on social media, friends described Welday as a mentor, a party leader, but first and foremost, a loving and dedicated father. Sharing condolences on Facebook, Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley wrote, “Paul Welday lived a life of community and public service. He is missed already.”

Richard Lerner, who serves with Welday’s wife Valerie Knol on Farmington Hills city council, said  Welday had been out Monday night, and a friend brought him home because he wasn’t feeling well. Welday had recently been treated for a benign brain tumor, Lerner said, but it had been removed.

“We’re all just in shock,” he said.

State Rep. Christine Greig, who represents Farmington and Farmington Hills, issued a statement Tuesday: “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. Our community mourns his passing.”

Paul WeldayWelday last month launched his campaign for Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner. He had previously run for seats in the U.S. Congress and Michigan House, and had managed political campaigns on the state and national level. In the 1990s, Welday served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Joe Knollenberg,

A principal partner with Lansing-based Superior Capitol Consulting and Senior Counsellor to Watts Partners, Inc. in Washington, D.C., Welday was a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University.

Locally, Welday was a former Farmington Hills Planning Commission member and a member of the Xemplar Club.

He is survived by his wife, Valerie, a son, Nickolas, and a daughter, Natalie Anne; a brother, Douglas (Cheryl) Welday; and sisters, Mary Urick and Patty (Wes) Graff.

This is a developing story.