Thomas Jerome Walsh was born June 3, 1929, at home in Murdock, Minn. He passed peacefully Monday, April 1, 2019, in Chippewa Falls.
He was the youngest of 13 children of Michael and Julia (Longman) Walsh. His siblings, in order of birth were, Joseph Walsh, Mary Helgeson, James Walsh, Leo Walsh, Irene Diederich, Edward Walsh, Lawrence Walsh, Dorothy Walsh (Sister Dorothy), Helen Walsh (Sister Julitta), William Walsh, Gertrude Rutledge and Evelyn Lever.
As a child, Tom farmed at home mostly under the tutelage of his brother, Jim. He also worked for his brother, Joe, in a garage repairing autos and tractors. As he got older, he worked for various farmers in the area. He had several pets including two horses, King and Queen, a cat, Heidi and a black dog.
Tom attended school in Murdock and graduated in 1947. Tom played Legion Baseball in high school for the Benson, Minn., Legion Post #2209. In 1946, the team played to the semifinals of the state tournament succumbing in the championship to the Christie-de Parcq Legion team from St. Paul. He was a strong left-handed pitcher and played other positions as well.
Tom taught himself American Morse Code and became employed by the Great Northern Railroad, Willmar, Minn., Division, as a telegrapher. On Jan. 9, 1951, he entered service in the U.S. Navy. While on “Boot Leave,” he married Rose Anne Butler March 26, 1951. The wedding was a small family affair and many from surrounding communities attended the reception. During his service years, he was assigned to the USS Kula Gulf, an aircraft carrier. When not at sea, he lived in Norfolk, Va., with his wife and growing family. In the Navy, Tom obtained the rank of Radioman as a Second-Class Petty Officer. On May 2, 1952, Tom was commended for graduating first in his class of 52, from Class A Radioman School. On Oct. 14, 1954, he received the Navy Occupation Ribbon (Europe) for serving abroad. At discharge, he received a Good Conduct Medal. He achieved Top-Secret Clearance and served during the Korean War.
Tom left the Navy with an honorable discharge Oct. 25, 1954. Shortly after arriving back home he again worked for the Great Northern Railroad, Willmar Division, as a telegrapher. Around 1956, he began a career as an insurance agent that lasted through to his death in 2019, a rewarding career of helping others for some 63 years. He worked for Group Health Mutual of St. Paul, which eventually became Mid American Life Insurance Company. About 1968, he started work for North Central Life Insurance Company of St. Paul. He left North Central about 1991 and worked as an independent broker until his death.
Tom was a member of the Knights of Columbus Goldsmith Council #974, the American Legion Post #77 and St. Charles Church, where he was an usher for over 50 years. He had been a member of many professional organizations throughout his career. He was a devout Catholic and tried to pray the rosary and read from the Bible each and every day.
Tom was married to Rose Anne until her death Oct. 2, 2001. He missed her dearly every day. He enjoyed his family of nine children, Theresa Sommerfeld, Ronald (Susan) Walsh, Catherine (Craig) Ishii, Kevin (Janet) Walsh, Dean (Beth) Walsh, Jeffrey (Marla) Walsh, Beth (John) Martinek, Gregory (Sue) Walsh and Sean (Jeanell) Walsh; 22 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren; one sister, Evelyn; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 50 years, Rose Anne; six brothers; five sisters; and two grandsons, Matthew Sommerfeld and Joseph Walsh.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Chippewa Falls. The Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Gorman will be celebrant of the funeral Mass. Interment will be in Hope Cemetery in Chippewa Falls. Military rites will be conducted by the Chippewa Falls Patriotic Council.
Friends may call from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Friday, April 5, at the Horan Funeral Home in Chippewa Falls and from 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Horan Funeral Home in Chippewa Falls. The Knights of Columbus will recite the rosary at 4 p.m. Friday at the funeral home.
Family and friends may express condolences online at www.horanfuneralhome.com.