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William (Bill) Michael Walsh
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“Yuriko, Margaret: Bill was a very good man, who lived his life as Christ taught us. He served God and everyone he met, in a kind and unselfish way. I...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: Diane Dunigan - Austin, TX

“Yuriko--Craig and I are so sad about your loss. I know that Mr. Walsh was a wonderful, kind and supportive godfather to you and the boys. I did not...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: Sue Moss

“Mr. Walsh was very kind to my Grandmother, Thekla Grissom, and my Aunt Marquerite Grissom. My Grandmother was the housekeeper at St. Mary's for 25...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: christina (jackoskie) garcia - TX

William (Bill) Michael Walsh of Austin, Texas, died Friday, May 11, 2012, at the age of 95.

Bill is survived by his dear friend, Margaret Fontaine Kalina Stryk, and his goddaughter, Yuriko Ishiyama Studer. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jeannette Elizabeth Walsh, his infant children, his mother, Violet Paggi Walsh, and his real father, Charles W. Walsh.

Bill was born on June 16, 1916. He spent his early life in his family's home on West 2nd Street, across from the Old Snyder Store and the residence of his great-grandparents, the Hoists. His family moved to live with his grandparents, Will and Ellen Paggi, in their home on Lake Austin Blvd. The property backed up to Deep Eddy, where Bill loved to swim.

A kind and wonderful Irish man, Charles W. Walsh, married his mother and the family move to his home at East 3rd Street and Red River. This man became Bill's real father, and he helped him grow into the man that so many people loved.

Bill was a sickly child, but he was an avid reader. One day he received a book by Dr. Rogers about improving one's health with diet and nutritional supplements. This started Bill's lifelong interest in and adherence to a diet of whole foods and supplements. He told everyone that was a turning point that saved his life and encouraged anyone who would listen to eat well.

Bill served as a member of the Austin Fire Department from 1941-1981. He may have started his service at Engine #1. He moved on to serve at Engine #2, Engine #3, Engine #4, the Old Engine #5, Engine #10, and Engine #11. Bill was a hoseman, a driver, a capital, and retired as a lieutenant. Bill was one of the many firefighters that answered the call for the tragic T. H. Williams Fire on March 23, 1950. Bill always was very slender. His family remembers him being honored for entering the basement through a narrow opening and pulling a woman out to save her life.

Firefighting was Bill's life. He often said that he would rather fight a fire than enjoy a good dinner. He even wanted to work on his birthday. Bill was passionate about ending the devastation caused by East Austin fires resulting from poor building code enforcement. He complained often to officials, to the point of jeopardizing his own career. Yet Bill was committed in his life to helping those in need.

In the early 1950s, Bill and his wife, "Pete," bought Speedway Radio (which later became Speedway TV & Radio) at 2010 Speedway. Bill had no formal training in electronics. He was self-taught, reading mountains of manuals to excel in his business. Pete managed the shop while Bill split his time between his firefighter duties and repairing electronics. When the location was purchased by the University of Texas in the mid-1960s, Bill moved the shop to what was then 19th Street. Speedway TV & Radio remained at that location until it closed in 1973.

Bill also studied many manuals to teach himself auto mechanics. He became quite good at working on his own vehicles but, more often, he would help others. If anyone asked Bill to lend a hand to repair a broken down vehicle, he was there. He would never accept payment. He was treasured by many for his skill and generosity.

Bill's faith permeated his life. He was a practicing Catholic who attended Mass daily whenever possible, be it in rain, sleet, or snow. He recited the Holy Rosary, often more than once during a day. Sadly, after Bill's wife died, he felt lost. It was Father Clement Mathis, SVD who helped Bill find his way. In the mid-1980s, Fr. Mathis moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he worked to reopen the St. Peter's Catholic School with a goal of providing quality education to underprivileged children. Bill donated generously to the school and found great pleasure in its success.

Bill donated to many charities worldwide, but he also helped those close to home. If a homeless person was at his door, Bill was quick to come to his aid with a dollar or a can of sardines. Bill regularly mowed lawns for people around his home and around his Fire Station, out of kindness. He supported the Sons of Hermann and the Knights of Columbus. Every good work was performed quietly and with grace, just as instructed in the Gospel.

William Michael Walsh lived a life of humility, humor, generosity, and faith. He has been an inspiration to those who have known him, and he will be greatly missed by those he leaves behind. Bill shared a loving relationship with Margaret Stryk for over 40 years. It was their care and support of one another that allowed Bill to live independently until the last two years, when Margaret took him into her home.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 15, 2012, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home at 3125 N. Lamar Blvd, with Recitation of the Holy Rosary to follow. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral, East 10th Street and Brazos. Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.