Stella Joyce Walsh passed away peacefully at the age of 95 on Sunday October 20 at the Pond Home in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Born on January 7, 1924 in Andover’s Ford, England, she had just started her first job when World War II broke out. Her brother Vivian joined the air force and her sister Valerie worked at the telephone exchange. Stella spent many nights in fallout shelters; however, she would still go out in the evenings to the movies or to dances; because, “there were air raid shelters all over the place and you could duck into them”.
Just after VE (Victory in Europe) day in May of 1945, Stella met Jim Walsh, who was stationed at an American Air force base. A short courtship in England continued via mail when Jim went home to Walpole, Massachusetts.
Stella and Jim were married in Walpole on in August 3, 1946. After a honeymoon in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, they lived in the family home at 21 Diamond Street, until shortly after their first child was born.
In June of 1947, Jim took a job for the Davey Tree Company that involved traveling and the little family went from New Hampshire and Maine to Michigan, living in a house trailer. Later, they traveled to Georgia and then back up the east coast. Stella remembers “following the fresh strawberries all the way up north”.
In 1950, Jim took a job with the Walpole Department of Public Works and the young family moved back into the house at 21 Diamond Street. The neighborhood included several families who were the second generation to live on the street. The neighborhood children played pick up baseball games, football, kick the can and hide and seek in the summer. In the winter there was sledding on the hill and skating on Memorial Pond.
Stella and Jim brought up their eight children on Diamond Street. Stella sang for many years in the Blessed Sacrament church choir. When the youngest entered elementary school, and having been out of the workforce since 1946, she took a job at the Walpole public library.
Stella’s beloved husband Jim died in August of 1981 and she never remarried. Stella stayed in the house on Diamond Street until 1995, when she moved to a smaller house on Mason Street.
In 1996, at age 72, Stella had a knee replaced and after completing her physical therapy she traveled to California and then, finally, on to China. She met her goal of walking on the Great Wall of China, and continued on to England before returning home having circumnavigated the globe.
In 2005, she took an apartment at the Walpole Senior Housing at Diamond Pond where she lived for ten years.
In the autumn of 2015, at age 91, Stella agreed to move into a condo at Rainbow Pond, Walpole with one of her daughters. Always one to carry on, she defied a prognosis that she would never walk again after a broken leg. After extensive physical and occupational therapy, she was able to walk across the room with a walker. She was not, however, able to gain complete independence and moved to Sunrise Assisted care in Norwood Massachusetts in October 2017. In April of this year, Stella moved again to the Pond Home in Wrentham, Massachusetts.
Over the years, Stella has welcomed each addition to the family: daughters and sons in law, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Grandchildren were welcomed to Diamond Street with a laundry basket of toys and were encouraged to make special requests for their breakfasts. Many sweaters were lovingly hand knit, first for the grandchildren, then for the great grandchildren, and recently, for “future great grandchildren”.
No path that a family member chose disturbed Stella who claimed to be accepting because “I have read a lot of modern novels”. Each child, grandchild, great grandchild was loved for their own personality and traits. She was truly a Super Nana.
Stella enjoyed life right until the end. He family joked about having to make an appointment to take her out to lunch, where she sometimes enjoyed a bloody mary or a gin and tonic. She loved to attend family parties and especially enjoyed cookouts that included burnt hot dogs.
Stella’s essential joy has always been to watch her family grow and be successful. It was not financial success that concerned her, although she did appreciate that nobody had to stretch a can of tuna to feed a family of ten. What she formed, by her example, is a family who showed their love in myriad practical ways. A family where the question is never whether help is needed, it is what exactly can we do to help.
Beloved wife of the late James D. Walsh.
Loving mother of James Walsh and Martha Mary of Exeter, NH, Bridget Monahan and Ed of Wrentham, Kathleen Sylvia and the late Paul of Mashpee, John Walsh and Martha Rose of Norfolk, Maureen Walsh and Joel Fischl of Walpole, Diane Walsh and Jean Casey of Centerville, Eileen Herrmann and Jurgen of Santa Rosa, CA, and Dan Walsh and Amy of Roswell, GA.
Cherished grandmother of Lara, Brian, Tim, Michael, Matthew, JoAnne, Kelly, Lilly, Jack, Stella, Margaret, Peter, Patrick, Eli, and Lida, and great grandmother of Isaac, Sam, Jake, Maci, Ash, and October.
Sister of the late Vivian Bridges and the late Valerie Brook. Also survived by many members of her extended family.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Stella’s Life Celebration on Monday, October 28, 2019 from 4 to 7 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole. A Funeral Home Service will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at 11:00 AM. Interment will be private at the request of Stella’s family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Horace Mann Educational Associates (HMEA) 8 Forge Park East, Franklin, MA 02038.
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