Fr. Robert Walsh
August 30, 1950 - October 24, 2020
Fr. Robert Walsh '68, SJ passed away at the Sacred Heart Center in Los Gatos on Saturday, October 24th after a long illness with pancreatic cancer. He was 70 years old.
A fifth-generation Californian, Fr. Walsh was born in San Francisco on Aug. 30, 1950, and raised in Westlake, where he attended Our Lady of Mercy School. He joined the Society of
Jesus after graduating from Saint Ignatius High School in 1968. During his years of Jesuit formation and education he earned his bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University in 1976.
After 12 years of focused educational and theological studies he was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco in June 1980. After his ordination to the Priesthood, he earned his Master of Divinity degree, in theology and ministry, from the Jesuit School of Theology, in Berkeley, and his master's degree in private school administration from the University of San Francisco.
After his ordination in 1980, Fr. Walsh served as a priest, teacher, novice director, campus minister and administrator, including St. Ignatius High School where he served as campus minister in the 1980s and at Bellarmine High School, where he worked as assistant principal in the early 1990s.
For more than 30 years, Father Walsh was a beloved and impactful figure in Catholic education in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. His commitment to the intellectual rigor of Jesuit education and his ministerial service fortified the leadership of Loyola High School, St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco and later on at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.
Father Walsh was principal and president of Loyola High School in Los Angeles from June 1992 through June 2005, and president of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco from July 2006 to June 2012
Father Walsh served as chancellor at Loyola Marymount University from 2018 to 2020, strengthening the spiritual and financial connections with and within the Los Angeles Catholic community. Before becoming chancellor, he was executive director of the LMU Center for Catholic Education for five years, where he led the implementation of innovative programs in the areas of leadership development, teacher preparation, research, professional development and outreach. Under Father Walsh's direction, the center won the Dr. Karen M. Ristau Innovation Award in 2016 for its comprehensive approach to furthering the mission of Catholic education. Father Walsh also served as chaplain of LMU's service organization Magis.
His ties to LMU ran deep: he attended Loyola University of Los Angeles in the 1970s; he was a former member of the LMU Board of Trustees, where he served on the Student Life, Governance, Development and Presidential Search committees; he served on the LMU School of Education Advisory Board and on the Catholic Education Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as on several other educational and nonprofit boards in the Los Angeles area.
Survivors include his mother, Maryjane, and his brothers, Jim (Diane), Paul (Barbara), and Greg (Mary), and numerous nieces and nephews. Robert was preceded in death by his father, Jim who passed away in November of 2015.
Robert's funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at Loyola Marymount University in St. Ignatius Chapel and was attended by his fellow Jesuit Priests. Robert's ashes will be interred at the columbarium at Mission Santa Clara at a future date.
Once large gatherings are allowed in the future, next year, we will hold a memorial service for Father Walsh at St. Leo's the Great Catholic Church in Sonoma Ca. There will also be a memorial service for Father Walsh in Orradre Chapel on the Campus of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, and an additional memorial service at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles the campus Church.
Robert touched many, many lives in his 40 years as an ordained priest and was well loved by all who knew him. He will be greatly missed. May he rest in Peace.