John James "Jack" Walsh, 89
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PORTLAND - John James ""Jack"" Walsh, 89, died peacefully on Jan. 15, 2015 at The Cedars in Portland. His wife, Sally, assisted by grand-nephews, Matthew and Tim Arey kept watch over John and helped him in his last few hours. They were joined by the men's parents, Sean and Maureen Arey. John's niece, Anne Marie Spizzuoco provided her support also.
John was born on Oct. 19, 1925, the son of Patrick and Mary (Coyne) Walsh, their 5th child and eldest son. The first two children died in infancy. John followed Mary Sharkey and Peggy Coppinger in the order of their births. After John, came Father Joseph P. Walsh, S.J. and then his sister Barbara Spizzuoco. The last two were Father Patrick C. Walsh, C.S.C. and Edward Walsh.
John's parents emigrated from Galway and Spiddal respectively. His mother was educated in Dublin and became a domestic in Portland before she married. His father retired from the Railroad.
John left Deering High School in his senior year, 1943, to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He began his service at the U.S. Naval Operating Base, Argentia, Newfoundland. He served also aboard the following ships as a Gunner's Mate, 3rd Class; USS Eastland, USS Shenandoah and USS Perry.
John was awarded many service medals that included World War II Victory Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal, (1 star), Philippine Liberation Ribbon (1 star) and Good Conduct Medal.
On October 23, 1947, John was honorably discharged from the Navy. He didn't waste any time to pursue his education. Aided by the G.I. Bill of Rights, he returned to Deering High School, graduated and enrolled in Newman Prep in Boston. This led to two years at St. Michael's College in Winooski, Vt. and finally to finish at Boston College Law where a mutual friend introduced him to Sally.
Sally was attending courses for her B.A. at B.C. in town. They graduated John from B.C. Law and Sally from the Evening School on June 9, 1954, John with a Bachelors of Law Degree and Sally with her B.A.
They were married on Sept. 25, 1954 after John passed his Bar Exam and was admitted to the State and Federal Courts. Father Tom Coyne, John's cousin, officiated at the marriage and said the Mass at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Cambridge, Mass. Father Tom was a priest in the Diocese of Portland.
John retired from Traveler's Insurance Company where he worked in the Casualty Property Claim Department. In retirement, he continued to work as an adjuster for North East Insurance Co., York Insurance Group and Commercial Union York Insurance Co.
John did many pro bono cases for his co-workers. He loved people and gave of himself tirelessly. He did some financial counseling to help people qualify for a loan to buy their own home through St. John's Parish Credit Union in South Portland. He was more than an avid golfer. It was on the golf course where he was able to find solutions to some of his cases while golfing. He and Dick Coyne won a championship in 1997 at Gorham Country Club where he had been a member.
John and his wife Rosaria (Sally) Messina were not blessed with their own children. They were very close to the nine Arey children, Tim, Danny, Matthew, Siobhan, Bridget, Regina, Treasa, Erin and Molly.
John was predeceased by his parents; his sisters, Mary Sharkey and husband Bob, Margaret (Peggy) Coppinger, Barbara Spizzuoco and her husband Baiso (Benny); his brothers, Father Joseph P. Walsh, S.J., Father Patrick C. Walsh, C.S.C., Edward and his wife Anita Walsh.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Rosaria (Sally) Walsh; his nieces; nephews; and numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews.
Friends and family are invited to attend a time of visitation from 4-7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, at Jones Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St., Portland.
Prayers will be recited at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 at St. Pius X Church, 492 Ocean Ave., Portland. Burial with military honors will follow at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland.
Please visit www.jonesrichandhutchins.com for additional information and to sign John's online guest book.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Jan. 18, 2015
Arrangements under the direction of:
Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home
199 Woodford Street | Portland, ME 04103 | (207) 775-3763