Joan Margaret Earl Walsh passed away peacefully, at the age of 88 on September 3, 2020. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on January 26, 1932, the eldest daughter of John V. and Margaret Earl.
She was among the first generation of women to graduate from Fordham University, earning a B.S. in Biology at Fordham University in 1953 and an M.S. in Education ten years later. While in college, she participated in Biology field studies, accepted summer research internships at Woods Hole, Mass., and in Colorado.
After graduation, she worked at Brookhaven Laboratory in Long Island, and the National Laboratory in Washington, D.C. As a newlywed, she also taught high school science in two Long Island districts, Westbury and Locust Valley. In the 1980s, she returned to teaching as an adjunct Biology professor at Manhattanville College.
She married Dr. John E. Walsh (Jack) in 1963, who preceded her in death in 2016, and with whom she had four children: Cybil (Brian) Powers of Rye, Anne (Stephen) Lake of Cheltenham, England; John (Amy) Walsh of Wallingford, Conn.; and Luke Walsh of Rye. She is survived by her youngest sister, Margaret Hornkohl and is predeceased by her sister Marilyn Glasberg and leaves eight treasured grandchildren: Lindsay, Lise and Andrew Powers; Emma and Case Lake; Charlotte, Peter, and Henry Walsh.
She grew up by the water in Bay Shore, Long Island, and she shared her love of the water and the outdoors with her husband Jack. They moved to Rye in 1965, and quickly became part of the community. Joan and Jack were parishioners of Church of the Resurrection for over 50 years, and Joan served as a Eucharistic Minister. At American Yacht Club, they enjoyed boating together with their four children for more than a half-century.
In the late 1970s, Joan Walsh was known by many fifth graders in the Rye City School District as the “lady who taught conservation.” Those former students have fond memories of tapping maple trees, making paper from newspaper pulp, and learning about the life cycle of a marsh while visiting Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary with her as their guide.
When her four children were older, she dedicated herself to philanthropic work through the Woman’s Club of Rye, where she served as president for three terms and on the committee responsible for awarding the Woman’s Club of Rye High School Scholarship Fund, recognizing students with high academic achievement.
Joan Walsh was an accomplished home seamstress, whose home-sewn dresses, children’s costumes, and quilts amazed her family. She had exacting standards and her children felt lucky to receive one of her creations.
Another joy was her bridge group, which met every Wednesday night for over three decades, in addition to a summer bridge group that she enjoyed immensely.
After her husband retired, they traveled widely, exploring six of the seven continents. Her natural curiosity and taste for adventure informed their elaborate itineraries.
A private Mass of Christian burial was held at Church of the Resurrection, A memorial service to celebrate Joan Walsh’s life will be held in 2021.