Thomas Joseph Walsh
Tom was born on February 10th, 1949 in Passaic, New Jersey to Don and Evelyn Walsh. On May 10th, 2019, Tom died of multiple myeloma in Vero Beach, Florida, with his family by his side. If he was writing this, though, he would tell you that he died holding a glass of wine, looking out over Skaneateles Lake at his beloved Plunkie Point. Tom Walsh never had a problem with a little embellishment if it made for a better story. He was a poet, a playwright, a novelist, and a consummate fundraiser. He was a husband, a dad, an uncle, a best friend, and damn, he was funny. He worked for peace and justice throughout his life, apparently to little avail. He was married to Maureen Kitson Walsh, Esq., for 45 years.
Tom grew up on Grand Island, NY, with his parents and his sister Patty, all of whom predeceased him. He moved to Syracuse to attend LeMoyne College and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1971. He received an M.F.A. in Stage Directing from Syracuse University. He did not attend Cornell University, but his dog did.
After LeMoyne, he taught at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse for three years. Following his graduate studies, he became the founding dramaturg at Syracuse Stage in 1979, and a visiting dramaturg at La Mama ETC in Manhattan. Tom was the founder, director, writer and producer of The Blathertones, a CNY based experimental theatre group. At Syracuse Stage, he directed Bent, Stage Struck, and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You. With La Mama ETC, he was instrumental in the production of The Tooth of Crime and Damnée Manon, sacrée Sandra. The Blathertones presented their works in unconventional settings, like putting on Tom's play Tunnel Vision in, well, a tunnel in Armory Square. Other Blathertones' works included Dog, 9.95, Shake & Bake. He directed his play Plutonian Ode, based on the poem by Allen Ginsberg, at the Berkshire Theater Festival.
Tom retired as Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Syracuse University. He played a role in the Setnor School of Music and Auditorium, Newhouse III, the Remembrance Scholarship Endowment, the Phanstiel Scholars, the University Lectures, the naming of the Falk College, and the College of Law at Dineen Hall. He was on the Board of Directors of the Everson Museum of Art, the Community Writer's workshop, Light Work, and the Finger Lakes Land Trust. He was an advisor to the Syracuse Zen Center and maintained a daily meditation practice for many years. In 1989, he worked as a stay at home dad, and though his tenure was brief it was highly regarded. In that role, he most loved to carry his baby all around Syracuse in his backpack and talk to her about everything in the world. He continued to do the latter for the rest of his life. Tom was an anti-nuclear activist and deeply in love with the natural world.
Tom is survived by his wife Maureen, his daughter Margaret, his dog and companion Edgar, cousins, many nieces and nephews, and best friends Jeffrey Hoone, Deborah Rose and Cindy Bloomer.
Calling hours will be at held on Friday, May 17, at Burns Garfield Funeral Home 3175 E. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. A memorial will be held at Syracuse University in the Setnor Auditorium at Crouse College on Saturday, May 18, at 3:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution in Tom's honor to your local Hospice House. www.burnsgarfield.com