William T. Walsh of Devon, 91, died peacefully on December 18, 2013 with his loving wife Barbara at his side. Together, they had 15 children. Bill was born in Westfield, New Jersey, the son of William Earl and Gladys French Walsh. He graduated from Villanova College in 1943 and The University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1949. He served as a U.S. Naval Officer in the Pacific during World War II.
Bill was a devoted husband and father, a devout Catholic and a very active member and prolific fundraiser for numerous civic, religious, business and academic organizations. His contributions were recognized by many over the years, including Villanova University, Ardmore Rotary, Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish (Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania), Malvern Retreat House, the Golf Association of Philadelphia, the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust, AXA Equitable Life, The American College and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Known affectionately to his children and friends as "The Sarge," Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years Barbara (Straub), and 15 children: Stephanie (the late Donald Beilman), Minna (Steven Wood), Bridget (Criswell Davis), Monica, Michael (Hallie), Tez (William Seiberlich), Huddie Murray (Kevin), Matthew (Cristine), Timothy (Anna), Daniel (Laura Tiozzo), Maura Burke (Kevin), Brendan (Desirée), Paul "Chet" (Cindy), Andrew (Thea Lenborg), and Alexandra (Daniel Nelson). He was also the beloved "Papa" to 29 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. In addition, Bill is survived by his brother David Walsh and sister Colleen Brown.
Bill loved the game of golf. He was a 58-year member of Philadelphia Country Club and a 56-year member of Pine Valley Golf Club. Bill won numerous amateur tournaments in his career, including 37 club championships at clubs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. At the age of 69, he also won the 1991 Golf Association of Philadelphia Senior Amateur Championship, besting a field of players aged 55 and older. Over his life, Bill played more than 600 different golf courses and shot his age or better more than 300 times. In addition to his outstanding playing ability, Bill was also a champion for the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust, raising more than $1.3 million since 1999 for local caddies to fund their college educations. He and his wife Barbara were honored with the inaugural J. Wood Platt Distinguished Service Award, which was started in 2012 and named after them. Bill also served as president of the Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) from 1992 through 1994 and received the GAP Distinguished Service Award in 2008 for his contributions to that organization and the betterment of the game. During his GAP presidency, he spearheaded a successful effort to open up the association and its tournaments to public clubs. Most recently, Bill served as a marshall on the 13th hole at the US Open at Merion Golf Club in June.
Bill was also an active member of the Villanova University community and a big Wildcat sports fan. He won the Villanova Loyalty Award in 1968, the Alumni Medal from the School of Commerce and Finance in 1969 and served as president of the Villanova Alumni Association in 1971-72. He received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the school in 1985 - the same year, much to his delight, that Villanova won the NCAA basketball championship. After beginning his brief career as a lawyer in Plainfield, New Jersey, Bill joined Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1948. He served as an Equitable agency manager in Philadelphia from 1955 until 1982, co-founded Walsh Associates with his daughter Stephanie and son Matthew in 1984 and remained active in the business until his death. He was also president of the "Old Guard" of Equitable Life Agency Managers in 1974-75, won the firm's National Honor Agent Award in 1987 and Equitable's Ron Stever Humanitarian Award for Community Service in 1996. He was a life member (46 years) of the Million Dollar Round Table. He received numerous other insurance awards, and in 2002 he received the Huebner Gold Medal from the American College, the highest honor of that organization which provides advanced education services and resources for the financial services industry. Bill was also the only person to serve as president of all four financial service organizations in Philadelphia: The Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, where he was recipient of their highest honor, the Presidents' Cup; General Agents and Managers Association; Society of Financial Service Professionals; and the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council, receiving their highest honor also.
An active member of Ardmore Rotary Club since 1970, Bill served as Club President 1976-77. He was District Governor (Southeastern PA) 1984-85 and First District Chair for the Rotary Permanent Fund 1994-96.
Bill was also a devoted member of the Men of Malvern, attending annual retreats at the group's Retreat House every year since 1956, and serving on the Board of Directors 1967-75 and 1999-2013. At Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Bryn Mawr, Bill was a daily communicant at 6:30 a.m. Mass for 50 years. He served as a Eucharistic Minister at the church in recent years.
Friends are invited to celebrate Bill's long and fruitful life with the Walsh family. Visitation will be December 26 from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at St. Thomas of Villanova Church on the Villanova University campus, and also December 27 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., followed immediately by a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will be private.
Memorial donations may be made to the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust, 1974 Sproul Road, Suite 400, Broomall, PA 19008; to Laymen's Retreat League, c/o Malvern Retreat House, Attn: William T. Walsh Scholarship Fund, 315 S. Warren Avenue, P.O. Box 315, Malvern, PA 19355-0315; or to Amigos de Jesus, 126 Woodland Avenue, Malvern, PA 19355.