Joseph Walsh Jr., was athlete, sports official


Joseph A. Walsh Jr., 79, a retired Bethlehem Steel inspector and a well-known Maryland athlete and sports official, died July 6 in Philadelphia after a brief illness.

A memorial Mass for Mr. Walsh will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Mary's Church in Govans, 5502 York Road.

Mr. Walsh starred in football, basketball and baseball at Calvert Hall College High School. He played on seven state championship teams and was selected as the best high school basketball player in Maryland for two consecutive years.

He later married the nurse who cared for him after he broke his leg in a football game and they went on to have 13 children. The family lived in the 400 block of E. North Ave.

After high school, Mr. Walsh played for several area semi-pro baseball and basketball teams until the late 1930s when he became an official. He officiated baseball, basketball, football and softball games for four decades. During halftime at football games, he often entertained spectators by throwing a football 60 yards using a unique behind-the-back motion.

For many years, Mr. Walsh was a part-time handyman at St. Ann's Church and School on Greenmount Avenue. One of his proudest accomplishments was helping his father rebuild the church's steeple.

After his retirement from Bethlehem Steel in 1966, Mr. Walsh moved to the New Jersey shore then, in 1973, to Treasure Island, Fla. In 1980, at the age of 68, he resumed officiating as an umpire at games involving the renowned "Kids and Kubs" softball team in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mr. Walsh is survived by his wife, the former Mary Tonry; six sons, Joseph Walsh of Massachusetts, Charles Walsh and William Walsh, both of Baltimore, Francis Walsh of Alabama, John Duston Walsh and Mark Walsh, both of New Jersey; seven daughters, Mary Cecilia Walsh, Sister Marie Seton Walsh and Catherine Ann Walsh, all of Baltimore, Margaret Walsh of Germany, Therese Pomeroy of Pennsylvania and Patrice Went and Colette Walsh, both of New Jersey; a sister, Clotilda Gay of Kingsville; two brothers, Matthew Walsh of Pikesville and Gloyd Walsh of Florida; 21 grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bishop Thomas Manning of Bolivia in c/o St. Mary's Convent, 403 Markland Ave., Baltimore, Md. 21212.

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