James Robert “Coach” Walsh, Sr., 86, passed away at Memorial Hospital on Saturday, April 11, 2020 after a long illness.
Coach Walsh was born in Philadelphia, PA, where he attended Northeast Catholic High School and was a standout football player. He received a football scholarship to Auburn University, where he received a BA in Education.
In 1960, Coach Walsh married the love of his life the former Barbara Ann Leonard of Columbus, GA and they had seven children. He began his coaching career at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School in Columbus, GA and concluded his career at Benedictine Military School in Savannah,Ga.
Coach Walsh is survived by his wife and six children, Jim Walsh, Jr. (Rebecca) of Cumming, Margie All (Sigbert) of Townsend, Patrick Walsh (Beth) of Richmond Hill, Billy Walsh of Savannah, Lenny Walsh of Savannah, and Wendy Stewart (Brandon) of Savannah. He is also survived by his grandchildren Ashley Nunnally, Sigbert “Shay” H. All, IV, James “Jake” R. Walsh, III, Erin Elizabeth Gregos, Bragan Walsh, Bailey Walsh, Brad Stewart, Casey Walsh, Sarah Stewart, Gavin Stewart, six great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Coach was preceded in death by his son Leonard Seikel, his parents, Edward and Margaret, his sister Anne and his brothers William and Edward.
A private graveside service will be held in the Greenwich Section of Bonaventure Cemetery. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic a public service will be held in the future.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that you consider a donation in Coaches memory to St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School, 2020 Kay Circle Columbus, GA 31907 or Benedictine Military School, 6502 Seawright Drive, Savannah, GA 31406.
Please sign our online guestbook at www.foxandweeks.com
It's raining as I write this, and I don't think for a minute that it's a coincidence. Sadness and rain seem to go together, and with the passing of Coach Walsh, I'd say it was only appropriate. If I said I loved him, then I'd stand in a line from Savannah to California that feel as I do. He was simply the best. Coach, teacher, mentor, husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Never heard him yell at anyone in practice, his method of coaching was unique in that sense, and along with it brought much success . To this day, I've never heard any former players of his complain about him. That's gold. Throughout the passing years, if you saw him in public, and didn't make sure to say hello, it felt like a missed opportunity to get his famous smile or that punch that only he could deliver. The last time I saw Coach Walsh, he was bed ridden and in pain. Still, he managed a weak smile, and ate a Krystal burger I had brought to him as he was known chow down on them. After finishing it, he laid his head back down and breathed onions on Barbara, who let him know it. I got up and as I walked out I turned and told them I'd see them again soon and that I loved them. Coach just grinned. I'm not sure he knew who I was, but he heard what I had wanted to tell him for years. He was a gift, and I will miss him. My condolences to the entire Walsh family. John C McCarthy III Class of 73
- John McCarthy, Savannah, Ga.
- Therese Savannah, Savannah, GA
I was saddened and sorry to hear about Coach's passing. He was so instrumental in many of our lives and he helped mold most of us into the men that we have become today. For many of us, he was like a 2nd Father as we spent so much time around him during our high school years. We have lost a great Man, we pray for his Spirit, we pray for his Family and I will remember Coach as a Man of great Character, Integrity, Morals, Values, Principles, Spiritual, a loving/caring Husband, Father, Grandfather-Father in Law and always a Loyal and True Friend.
- Richard Lutz, Jr. '84, Savannah, GA
- Kelly Kilpatrick Hunt, Savannah, Georgia
To coach Walsh Jr when you worked at Bradwell Institute I was a substitute teacher I am sending you my sincere condolences to you and your family. I am now in a nursing home in Midway on Hwy 17. Bless you and your family. Beverley Antos.
- Beverley Antos , Midway , GA
Barbara and Family, Our deepest condolences on the passing of Jim. Little Jim, Margie, Patrick, and Wendy...thanks for sharing your Dad with the Benedictine Family. Thanks for all you did for me and my teaching and coaching career. Rest In Peace Coach.
- Patrick and Paula Rossiter, Savannah, Ga 31406
- Bradley Murphy ‘96, Savannah, Georgia
I am so sorry to read of the passing of Mr. Walsh. Please accept my deepest sympathies during this difficult time. I hope you find comfort in the many memories shared of such an incredible man. I am sorry for your loss and I’m keeping you all close in my thoughts.
- Kim Moss, Houston, TX
David had the privilege of being coached by (at Pacelli High School) and coaching with Coach Walsh (at Benedictine). Coach Walsh was a second father to David as his Dad died when he was age 12. Both Coach Walsh & Barbara took care of David & Mary Ellen Taylor (spaghetti goes a long way!) and their children Nathan & Tracy who were born in Savannah during their time there. Visiting with Coach Walsh & Barbara years later warmed their hearts. Coach Walsh is home now, and we hope to share time with him again! AMEN!
- David & Mary Ellen Taylor, Fortson, Georgia
Dear Walsh family, We are very sorry you cannot celebrate a funeral Mass for this legend of a man, but we doubt a Church in Savannah could hold the crowd that would attend. Rest In Peace Coach Walsh. From your vantage point in heaven, may you finally come to know the life changing effect you had on countless lives. Sally and Brian
- Sally and Brian Kennedy, Savannah , GA
We at Pacelli HS got the early Coach Walsh, when he was just learning his craft as a coach. He didn't have much to work with in size or numbers at our little high school, but he got as much out of us as Bear Bryant could have. It was fun to watch his career as he became one of the state's winningest coaches, knowing that our 4-5-1 seasons didn't really help. And he obviously remained the warm, caring man who cared about his players that he was when we knew him. He will always be a part of our lives. Darrell Dobresk PHA '66
- Darrell Dobresk, Atlanta, GA
Pat and I were classmates at Blessed Sacrament and BC. It was in 2nd grade i got introduced to Coach Walsh. he introduced er t an American History book for talking in class. he made a huge impression on me at BC and beyond. Many us remember that shoulder punch where he would smile and we would grimace in pain. It was one of his many ways of showing us he cared. We maintained a friendship through the years. He tremendously influenced my coaching over the last 39 years. Having coached with him for a few years at Blessed Sacrament. it was a privilege to learn form him. Watching the boys stare at him in awe as he spoke was truly moving. he was a great man and mentor. He was one of the finest mean I have ever know. Prayers to the Walsh family. I assure you he was greeted warmly in heaven. RIP Coach! Love ya my friend!
- Kevin Sheehan, Savannah, GA
I was a Junior in High School and played on the last team (1970) that Coach Walsh coached the football team. He was more than a great coach. He was an inspiration to all his players and students and a wonderful role model for young men to aspire to be. He helped prepare me for manhood and I am truly sorry for the families loss. May God grant him eternal rest in the great blessed football stadium in Heaven.
- Gerald Wieczorek, COLUMBUS, GA
Pat and family, I am very sorry to hear of your loss of this fine man. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
- Ron Vandegrift , Richmond Hill , Ga
Rest In Peace Coach
- ChristopherConnolly, Savannah, Georgia
When you here that a special person in your life has been taken into heaven by our Lord, its hard on the ones that are left to just remember. We must have the faith at times like this that coach is going to the special place that we all want to go when its our time. He was a coach a teacher a leader and most of all he a friend. He will always remain a very important part of my life and will always be remembered . Prayers to the entire family
- Mike and Rene green , Savannah, Ga
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
- Coach Roosevelt Coleman, Savannah,, Georgia.
I send my sympathy and condolences to the Walsh family. I know what a valuable person, teacher "Coach" was to the Pacelli Catholic School. I did not know "Coach" personally but I knew his wonderful wife Barbara Ann Leonard from attending St Anne Catholic School. I will keep the family in my prayers. Mary Elizabeth Patton Allen
- Mary Elizabeth Patton Allen, Midland, Ga
Your family is in my heart and prayers. Coach was quite the influence in my life. I was lucky to play under him.
- Joseph McNally Bremer Class of 82, Bluffton, SC
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel