Memorial Mass for William Walsh of Atherton | News | Almanac Online |


Memorial Mass for William Walsh of Atherton

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A memorial Mass is set for 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, for William Desmond Walsh of Atherton. Mr. Walsh died Nov. 16 at Stanford Hospital at the age of 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.

William Desmond Walsh
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 the Sonoma Developmental Center, which cared for their daughter Caroline.

Mr. Walsh also 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 will be held Friday at St. Raymond Catholic Church, 1100 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park. 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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Like this comment
Posted by Marhy O'Riordan
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

As we bid good bye to my good friend Bill Walsh I would just like to say what a wonderful person he was. I got to know him and his wife, Jane, and his entire family throughout the years while advocating for benefits and rights for developmentally disabled people at the Sonoma Developmental Center. He really supported the services and the continuation of the services at the Sonoma Developmental Center. He told me many times of the other placements he had for his developmentally disabled daughter, Caroline, and how nothing measured up to the care and services and dedication at the Sonoma Developmental Center. I was President of the Parents Association and this family was extraordinary in their support of our efforts to keep this wonderful facility in place and operating now and in the future. I just loved Bill and Jane and the Walsh family for the devotion and affection they showed Caroline and others in the facility.
I consider it such an honor to have known you all and wish Bill God speed - we will all meet again and those little angels we supported in this life will be there to meet us.


Mary O'Riordan
Past President
Parent Hospital Association
Sonoma Developmental Center

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