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The Honorable Joseph T. Walsh

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The Honorable Joseph T. Walsh Obituary
The Honorable Joseph T. Walsh

AGE: 84 • Greenville

The Honorable Joseph T. Walsh passed away peacefully surrounded by family on August 15, 2014. He was 84. Justice Walsh was born in an elevator at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware on May 18, 1930. He grew up at 2230 Pine Street in Wilmington, the second of six children. His parents, Joseph Patrick and Mary Bolton Walsh, were second-generation immigrants from Ireland. He married the love of his life, Madeline Lamb, on October 16, 1954.

After graduating from Salesianum School in 1948, Justice Walsh received his B.A. with honors from LaSalle College in 1952, and his LLB degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1954.

Justice Walsh served three years on active duty as a member of the Judge Advocate General's School of the United States Army and is a graduate of Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia in 1956. He was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1954 and to the Delaware Bar in 1955. He served as law clerk to Chief Judge Paul Leahy of the United States District Court for Delaware.

From 1958 to 1972, Justice Walsh engaged in the practice of law in Wilmington, primarily as a litigator, including service as Chief Counsel for the Delaware Public Service Commission. He also served as attorney for the Delaware House of Representatives and Counsel for the Wilmington Parking Authority.

Justice Walsh then served with distinction on every major court in Delaware. In July 1972, he was appointed Associate Judge in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. Twelve years later, he was appointed Vice Chancellor, Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware. On September 30, 1985, he was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware. He was reappointed Justice in 1997, and retired in April 2003. During his service on the Supreme Court, he authored more than 300 opinions in areas of civil, criminal and corporate law.

Justice Walsh joined McCarter & English as Special Counsel on June 1, 2003 until his retirement from that firm on July 1, 2010. In addition, he spent time as an adjunct professor at Widener University School of Law, earning an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1997. He is also a former director of the Einstein Institute for Science, Health and the Courts. He authored articles and lectured on the legal implications of genetic science. He is also co-founder of the Annual Rubenstein-Walsh Seminar in Professionalism and Ethics.

Justice Walsh was a tireless advocate for equal access to justice for all Delawareans, particularly those without financial resources. From 1959 to 1963 he was Chief Attorney for the Legal Aid Society, the progenitor of Community Legal Aid Society. He believed that all lawyers should give back to the community and spoke to countless young lawyers as part of the admission process on the importance of pro bono work and other charitable work. He is co-founder of the Carpenter-Walsh Delaware Pro Bono American Inn of Court.

Justice Walsh was also very active in the Catholic Church. He was a trustee of St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church, and was also a member of the Catholic Diocese Finance Committee and Real Estate Committee. He formerly served as a trustee of the Catholic Diocese Foundation and was a founding member of the St. Thomas More Society in the Diocese of Wilmington. He was a Man of Malvern and never missed attending the Annual Archbishop Fitzmaurice Retreat.

Justice Walsh received many awards during his judicial career and for his service to the Catholic Church. In 1989, he received the Herbert Harley Award from the American Judicature Society for promoting the effective administration of justice. In 1996, he received the Monsignor Paul J. Taggart St. Thomas More Award. In 2002, he received the First State Distinguished Service Award, the highest award conferred by the Delaware State Bar Association, and the 2002 Chief Justice's Annual Award for Outstanding Judicial Service. On July 3, 2003, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner awarded Justice Walsh the Order of the First State, the highest state government honor. In 2008, he was inducted into the Salesianum School Hall of Fame.

The achievement he was proudest of was his marriage to his wife of 60 years, Madeline Lamb. Together they raised six children between their homes in Greenville and Lewes Beach, Delaware. Besides his wife, Justice Walsh is survived by six children, 16 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. They are Kevin E. Walsh and his wife, Mimi, and their children Kevin Jr., Kellie and Ian; Lois E. Blackburn and her husband, Jim, and their son, Jim (JB), and his wife, Erin and their children Caroline and Eileen; Patrick J. Walsh and Cheryl Giroux, his children Kathy, Megan, Emily, Annie, Tess, 3 grandchildren and Cheryl's son, Nick; Daniel D. Walsh and his wife, Sally, and their children Jacob and Noah; Thomas D. Walsh, his former wife, Diane Coffey, and their children, Linda and Joe; and Nancy Walsh Law and her husband, Karl, and their children Madeline and Emma.

Justice Walsh is also survived by his sisters, Dora Carr and Pat Walls, his brother, Judge Peter J. Walsh, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Theresa Taylor, brother Jim Walsh, and granddaughters, Mary Theresa and Sarah Walsh.

Visitation for family and friends will be held on Tuesday, August 19, at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church, 10 Old Church Rd., Greenville from 4 to 7 pm in the evening. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Saint Joseph on the Brandywine Church at 10 am on Wednesday, August 20. Interment to follow at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Salesianum School, 1801 N. Broom St., Wilmington, DE, 19802.

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Published in The News Journal from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20, 2014
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