Almanac

Community - November 27, 2013

Obiturary: William Walsh, philanthropist, 83

William Desmond Walsh, a longtime resident of Atherton, died Nov. 16 at Stanford Hospital. He was 83.

Mr. Walsh, who his family describes as "a man of singular generosity," was a business leader and philanthropist who with his late wife, Jane, hosted the Vintage Affaire fundraiser for the Vista Center in their home for many years.

Born in New York, Mr. Walsh graduated from Fordham University in 1951 and from Harvard Law School in 1955. He began his career as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to his family, who noted that his work contributed to the prosecution of organized-crime figures such as crime boss Vito Genovese.

Mr. Walsh joined Arcata Corp. after heading West, and eventually became president and CEO of that company. He later founded Sequoia Associates LLC.

Deeply committed to philanthropy, he supported many institutions and efforts, his family said. His gifts to Fordham University led to the establishment of the William D. Walsh Family Library and a classic antiquities museum. Gifts to Harvard Law School supported state-of-the-art classrooms. He and his wife were also strong supporters of the Sonoma Developmental Center, which cared for their daughter Caroline.

Mr. Walsh took a keen interest in Ireland, the country of his heritage, and he was a supporter of the American Ireland Fund, which "launched ground-breaking programs in peace and reconciliation for the new generation," his family said.

Mr. Walsh also offered his time and talent to many of the institutions he supported financially, his family noted.

He is survived by his children, Deborah Hirsch, Michael Walsh, Suzanne Tinsley, Tara Jane Arnold, and Peter Walsh; a brother, Donald G. Walsh; and 12 grandchildren. His wife of 57 years, Jane, and his daughter Caroline preceded him in death.

The memorial Mass was held Nov. 22 at St. Raymond Catholic Church. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in Mr. Walsh's memory to the Parents Hospital Association in support of the Sonoma Developmental Center, P.O. Box 237, Eldridge, CA 95431.

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