Daniel Francis Walsh, 91, died on February 19, 2022, at his home in Savannah, Georgia.
Judge Walsh was born on October 28, 1930, in Detroit, Michigan to Francis and Eileen Walsh. He was the third of five children and preceded by all in death. He is also predeceased by a granddaughter, Mary-Katherine Sogan Bauer and step-grandson, Joshua Lee LaCrosse. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Carol, six children, Michael (Linda), Elizabeth (David), Patricia (William), Thomas (Kerri), Timothy (Erin), and William (Ninette), foster daughter Susan, 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Judge Walsh was educated at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated second in his class in 1952. He pursued graduate studies in theology and canon law at St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. Then, after opting not to be ordained, obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit in 1958, where he was inducted in Alpha Sigma Nu, the National Jesuit Honor Society. While in seminary he began a lifelong association with Camp Sancta Maria as a camper, counselor, head counselor, and longtime board member.
Judge Walsh ascended to the judiciary in 1969, serving as a judge on the 87th Judicial District of Michigan and the 46th Judicial Circuit of Michigan. He then served as a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals from 1975 to 1988. As State Court Administrator, he was requested by the Supreme Court in 1983 to temporarily take over the administration of the State trial courts and devise procedures to improve the Michigan court systems. His venerable reputation was such that following Justice Antonin Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1986, Judge Walsh was asked by the United States Attorney General’s office to submit himself for consideration to replace Justice Scalia on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
In addition to his many professional associations and activities, which included memberships on the Michigan Judges Association Executive Committee, the State Bar of Michigan Judicial Conference, and Michigan Judicial Council, Judge Walsh was also a prolific and devoted civic servant. He was most particularly involved with the Catholic church and Catholic education in the state of Michigan. He was a member of the Diocesan Board of Education in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and president of the Board of Christian Education and St. Mary’s School Board in Gaylord, Michigan. He was also deeply involved with Otsego Memorial Hospital, serving as president of the board of directors and senior vice president of the Otsego Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Judge Walsh retired early from an auspicious career at age 58, choosing instead to devote his time to his cherished wife Carol, his children, and grandchildren. The Walshes began spending time in their beloved Savannah, Georgia in 1989, where he continued to support his family and causes.
A public servant and pillar of the community for all his life, Judge Walsh was recognized for his distinguished judicial career and civic-mindedness. Among his family, he is remembered for his wisdom, steadfast moral code, and most of all his warmth, generosity, and playfulness. He applied the same thoughtful diligence to his many hobbies and interests as to every other area of his life. As an avid cyclist, he rode his bicycle up to 30 miles every morning. As a Disney fan, visits to Walt Disney World became an annual pilgrimage. As a sailor and golfer, he appreciated the outdoors with the fervor of a transcendentalist, turning to nature to, “expand my soul.” He was a lover of classic movies and Irish folk songs, spaghetti with marinara, and vanilla ice cream with hot fudge. To his children and grandchildren, he imparted his guiding principles of humility, duty, and altruism and they continue to be always guided by his example.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Judge Walsh at St. Francis Cabrini Catholic Church, 11500 Middleground Road, Savannah, Georgia at 11 o’clock in the morning, Saturday, February 26th, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Alzheimer’s Foundation by visiting alz.org.