He was home-schooled until he enrolled in high school at the age of ten and was admitted to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the age of twelve.
Welch made a fortune in the candy business, making caramel lollipops, renamed Sugar Daddies, and he developed other well-known candies such as Sugar Babies, Junior Mints, and Pom Poms. Welch retired a wealthy man in 1956.
Welch's credo was, "Less government, more responsibility, and --with God's help -- a better world." Will Grigg has said this about Welch [my hyperlinks]:
Unlike the reflexively bellicose people who call themselves Conservatives today, Mr. Welch was never a militarist; in one commencement address he gave in the mid-1950s he pointed out that there was no reason why the American people and the people of the USSR would consider themselves enemies if it weren't for the behavior of the governments presuming to rule them. In matters of social policy, Welch opposed abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide, like most conservatives, but also opposed the death penalty (as do I) and condemned torture. He was not preoccupied by the supposed threat of immigration, and didn't believe in enlisting the government in crusades to purify people's moral behavior through the righteous application of coercion. In a remarkable speech he gave in 1979 -- when most conservatives were worried about the Soviets -- Welch predicted that the U.S. would become universally hated for the government's practice of "imperialism by the dollar, as a substitute for the sword."
If Robert Welch were around today, the Fox-aligned Right would consider him a liberal.
Welch founded the John Birch Society in 1958. In a speech he gave at the founding of the JBS, Grigg says "Welch described pious Muslims as allies in the struggle against the lawless state."