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Walsh, Martin


AUGUST 25, 2020

WALSH, Martin A. Of Natick, formerly of Wellesley, Boston civil rights leader and family man, passes away at 82. It is with great sadness that the family of Martin "Marty" Anthony Walsh announces his passing on August 25, 2020, at the age of 82, after a long battle with dementia. He is survived by his wife, Marybeth Sheridan Walsh, his children Karen M. Walsh, Laura and Ron Eppen, Stacey and Scott Thompson, Martin Walsh, II and Katie Joyce, and John and Amy Heineche Walsh, and his grandchildren Annelise Eppen, Meredith Eppen, Lillian Thompson, William Thompson, Philip Eppen, Bridget Thompson, Grant Walsh, Camilla Walsh, Grace Walsh, Gabrielle Walsh, and Rowan Walsh, and siblings Betty Bochneack and Joe Walsh, and many nieces and nephews. Walsh was a formidable leader in the civil rights era, serving the New England area as a mediator of racial conflict for the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service (CRS) from 1974 until his retirement in 2003. During his position of leadership at CRS, spanning 4 decades, he helped to build community alliances aimed at eliminating racial tensions, such as the Greater Boston Civil Rights Coalition. As a seasoned mediator, he worked across the nation to de-escalate racial strife, including the Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota and other infamous sites of racism-fueled hostility in the 70's, 80's, and 90's. His legacy includes helping to organize the community policing movement by training police officers to de-escalate violence and leading the federal response to the racist burning of Black churches in the mid-90's. In the late 1990's, Walsh spearheaded working groups that later developed DOJ's Hate Crime Training Curriculum. Walsh launched this dedicated career fighting for civil rights after 4 years of service as an ordained Catholic priest in Miami, FL from 1963-1967. Before his retirement, he received the U.S. Department of Justice's Distinguished Service Award in 2001, for dedication to racial justice and outstanding work ethics. In addition to his dedication to his work, Walsh was an incredible family man, whose house was his castle and doors were always open to friends and relatives, who were greeted with a smile and a cold one. Along with family time, Walsh had many hobbies that kept him busy throughout his life. He enjoyed traveling the world, golfing, reading, and gardening (he went to his grave not knowing who stole his prize-winning great pumpkin of 1981). He loved watching live football of any level, from his beloved Patriots, to his sons' high school and college playing and coaching careers, as well as his grandchildren's many games. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him. In lieu of flowers, when you see something that is not right, stop and do something about it in memory of all that Marty Walsh stood for. A private Funeral Mass will be held in St. Paul's Church, Wellesley on Saturday, Aug. 29 at 11:00am, followed by a private interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, Wellesley. A Celebration of his Life will take place in the future when Covid-19 is no longer a threat. Online guestbook at George F. Doherty & Sons Wellesley 781-235-4100