Robert E. Walsh, formerly of Boston, died Wednesday, April 6, 2022, peacefully, at his home after a lengthy period of health declining.
Bob was born in Newton, Mass., the first of five children of Edmund F. Walsh and Barbara L. (Small) Walsh. The family moved to a small farm in Weston, Mass., in 1948, and it was there that Bob discovered his passion for horses and farming. As members of 4H, he and his brother Peter raised award-winning Hampshire sheep. When the flock reached 24, father decided it was time to move on and Bob moved up to his real love, competitive horse riding. He was an athlete and watching him ride his hunter, Joker, was a delight. Bob had a natural feel for the animal, his hands firmly holding the reins and moving fluidly with the horse as they rode the course. He was talented enough to be considered for the Olympic Equestrian team, but the time and money commitment were too much.
He attended BC High and graduated from Boston College in 1966. He spent the next summer touring Europe with friends, which sparked a lifelong love of travel. Upon return, he went to work for the Park House Restaurant in Boston. He left after a few years for a similar job with Gray Advertising, in NYC, as a human resources manager. He continued his HR career at Harvard Community Health, in Boston, and at Century Health Care, in LA
He was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1983, and had to retire from work with a medical disability. Bob returned to Boston and, eventually, moved to the family summer home in Hill. He started buying and training show horses and riding when he was able to between flare-ups of arthritis. Needing more room, he eventually bought a small farm at the bottom of Murray Hill, where he had stables, pastures and a riding/training ring. Bob had help managing the farm and caring for his horses, boarding horses and his pet steer, Beauregard.
The cold damp New Hampshire winters did not help his arthritis, so he started wintering in Southern Pines, with long-time friends from the Millwood Hunt Club.
Bob lived the life of a gentleman farmer fulfilling his adolescent dreams. He was also an avid collector of antiques and fine art following his paternal grandfather’s passion.
He is survived by his brother, Michael and his wife, Mary, of Ashland, Mass. and Bridgewater, NH, formerly of Millis, Mass., and their children, Matthew, Mark and Betsy; His sister, Sheila Walsh Leone and her husband, Joseph, of Canton, Ga., formerly of Weston, Mass., and their children, Sheila Jeanne Lucas, Stefanie Benotti, Joe Leone Jr. and John Leone; and brother, Stephen and his wife, Connie, of Cape Coral, Fla., and Southwest Harbor, Maine, formerly of Natick, Mass., and their children, Jason, Tara and Patrick Walsh, Gabrielle Minotti, and Benjamin Williams; Peter’s former wife, Dr. Molly DeHaas, of Framingham, Mass., formerly of Sudbury, and her daughters, Maggie Walsh McSweeney and Katie Walsh; and Stephen’s former wife, Patricia Colby, of Arundel, Mass., formerly of Kennebunk, Maine.
He was predeceased by his parents, Barbara and Edmund Walsh, of Weston; and his brother, Peter Walsh, of Natick, Mass., formerly of Sudbury.
The family will announce a service for a celebration of life as soon as arrangements are finalized. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Cancer Research Institute (prostate cancer research specifically), or Arthritis Foundation.