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Hum    6,933

For 35 years, Willis 'Bill' Welch received a pecan pie from a mystery donor at Christmastime. But now it?s goodbye to the pie.

The 2011 offering was simply a note telling Welch, 87, of Columbus, that the streak is over. It was signed 'Pie Fairy.'

?It has been a great ride,? the fairy wrote. ?Still not telling you who I am yet, but my wings are shorter now and I am a little too fat to fly anymore. But I still love you!!?

Welch, who lives on the Far East Side, said his benefactor knew him well enough to know that pecan is his favorite pie. The story of the yearly gift made national news after The Dispatchfirst wrote about it in 2006.

Identifying the Pie Fairy might be easier if Welch, who is divorced, had a smaller social circle.

But he made many friends during his long career with Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric, American Electric Power and the city of Columbus, plus his service on various boards and commissions.

Welch used to accuse his two daughters of being behind the gift, but they swear they had nothing to do with it. In fact, in the early years, they were a little wary of the pie.

?We kept telling him not to eat the pie,? said daughter Debbie Mathew, 55, of Pickerington.

Welch didn?t heed their advice.

?I have an insatiable sweet tooth,? he explained.

The Pie Fairy first struck, by his recollection, in 1976 while he was living in an East Side apartment complex.

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