Thomas C. Walsh

Thomas C. Walsh

Thomas C. Walsh

Rochester, MN

Thomas Charles Walsh, 73, of Rochester, MN, a proud son of his Irish heritage, passed away peacefully at home on the evening of March 16, 2024, surrounded by his family, as the dawn of St. Patrick’s Day broke over Ireland.

Tom was born in Berwyn, IL on October 31, 1950, to Charles and Geraldine Walsh. He attended Catholic school in the Chicago area until his high school years, when he chose to attend public high school, where he found his love of writing and communication. His time as a young boy in Arlington Heights was filled with little league baseball, White Sox and Cubs games, and a regular gig with the local professional theatre company. He told many fond stories of those early days, including meeting famous celebrities such as The Three Stooges during his time in the local theater spotlight.

Tom set off for the University of Iowa in 1968, and, as a young freshman, was set up on a blind date by mutual friends, with Beth Woods, who would become his wife of 52 years. Together, after graduation, the adventure began and their careers took them to the Chicagoland area, Washington D.C., Waucoma, IA and finally to Hills, IA when they decided to return to the quietness of the Midwest, to raise a family. They bought their first home and welcomed their two children, Emilie and Tim during their time in Hills.

While in Hills, Tom became the very first Iowa City Bureau Chief of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, a labor of love that started at his dining room table in Hills, with one of the very first Apple computers in the area at the dawn of the computer era. He loved the thrill of chasing a story, creating rapport with community leaders and activists, and delivering the news to the public in the most non-biased way possible. It was important to him that opinion had ZERO room on the pages of a newspaper unless it was the Opinion Page.

In 1985, Tom and Beth and their children moved to West Branch, IA. Tom became the Executive Director of the Hoover Library Association (now known as the Herbert Hoover Foundation) and spent many years helping to creatively and eloquently exemplify the incredible gifts of the Great Humanitarian, and America’s 31st President, Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry Hoover. He led trips to Australia and China with the Hoover Foundation, to showcase the life and work of the Hoovers, including resurrecting Hooverball, a tradition that West Branch still honors; the ‘Hooverball National Tournament’ every year during the town’s summer Hoover celebrations.

Tom spent numerous hours in his time in West Branch, helping to revitalize the downtown area, successfully lobbying for the registration of 16 of the buildings on the National Historic Register, as a National Historic District. He also was key to the resurrection and branding (the triple-H logo) of the Herbert Hoover Highway, a 46-mile-long-stretch from Iowa City to eastern Cedar County.

Tom was the author of the Irish historical fiction novel, ‘Erin’s Hope’, a labor of love for which his research before writing, included crewing on a Tall Ship, “The Eye of the Wind”, a replica of the ship that was used to transport the Irish brigade of soldiers from Ireland to America. He joined the crew as the ship cook in 1993 on the three-week journey across the Atlantic from Boston to Cork, one of his greatest adventures and accomplishments.

Tom took over 20 trips to Ireland, which included both teaching journalism at Dublin City University in Dublin, Ireland and earning his Master’s Degree there in 2002.

Leaving Iowa City in 2004, Tom and Beth spent almost 20 years on the coast of Down East Maine, where he continued his journalism career at Jackson Labs as a medical-science writer and local ‘Down East-beat’ reporter with the Ellsworth American and Bangor Daily News. He was also a frequent contributor to many magazines all over the world, including the Working Waterfront, a down east Maine publication.

Tom and Beth moved to Rochester, MN in 2021 to be closer to family and world-class medical care at the Mayo Clinic. They settled on a small acreage just north of downtown Rochester and have enjoyed the new adventures and people that this transition to the beautiful Driftless Region brought them.

Tom is survived by his wife, Beth, daughter Emilie Walsh, of West Branch, IA (granddaughters Ellison, Delaney and Kaylee), his grandson Nayton Burke Walsh, of Adrian, OR, his brother Patrick Walsh (Carol Ann Riordan) of Reston, VA. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Carmen (Jack) Pfeiffer of Springfield, IL, and Joan (Bob) Fisher of Sharpsburg, MD, Diane Walsh of Austin, TX, and many nieces and nephews all around the country. He was preceded in death by his son Tim, his granddaughter Taylor, his brothers Kenny Walsh and Jim Walsh, sister Carol Jo Hogan, parents Charlie and Gerry Walsh and in-laws, Sylvia and Elsworth Woods.

No formal services are planned, per his wishes. The family will be scattering his ashes in Ireland at a later date.

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