The Rev. Robert Rea Walsh died on June 19, 2016 at the age of 79.
Robbie was born on March 2, 1937 to Adeline Rea Walsh and Francis Thomas Walsh. He received a Bachelor of Science from MIT in 1958, and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1980.
Rev. Walsh was ordained in 1980 by the Holston Valley Unitarian Church of Kingsport, TN. In that same year he was called to serve as minister to the Unitarian Church of Duxbury, MA. He served the parish for twenty-two years and was honored as Minister Emeritus in 2003.
His service to the denomination was quite extensive. While on the UUA Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1981, Rev. Walsh served as chair of the Committee on Committees, among several other roles. Additionally, he served on the Southeast Interdistrict Council, the UU Service Committee Board of Directors, the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, the Southeast District (formally Thomas Jefferson district), the Steering Committee of the Joint Washington Office for Social Concerns, and the UUA Committee on District Representation and Distribution of Resources. After joining the ministry, he served on the UUA Nominating Committee from 1985 to 1989, on the UUA Pamphlet Commission, and on the UUA Council on Church Staff Finance from 1999 to 2005.
Of Rev. Walsh’s denominational service, colleague Rev. Kenneth Read-Brown wrote:
It must be noted that in every one of these positions he didn’t simply warm a seat at the table. Robbie actively did his part, often (almost inevitably it would seem) as chair or president of one or another committee or body, to further the institutional strength of Unitarian Universalism in one way or another so that our message could be more effectively spread and heard.
Rev. Walsh authored two Unitarian Universalist meditation manuals: Noisy Stones and Stone Blessings. He was a talented musician, and excelled as a banjo player. He composed a song later published in the UUA Annual Program Fund Continental Committee’s Singing for the Green: Songs for Fun and Money, and wrote new lyrics to several tunes including “The UUs Who Wouldn't Adjourn.”
Rev. Walsh is survived by his beloved wife, Kathleen “Kitty” Ladd Ward; his daughter, Elizabeth Walsh (Bill Scott), his sons David Walsh (Debra Ann) and Nathaniel Walsh (Donyele), his step children Samuel S. Ward (Geralyn) and Anthony C. Ward (Karen), and his six grandchildren. He is also survived by his former wife, Reed Walsh.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, 689 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139; or to the UUA Living Tradition Fund, PO Box 843154, Boston, MA 02284-3154.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Robbie’s spouse, Kitty Ladd Ward, 121 Downer Ave, Hingham, MA 02043; and/or Robbie's daughter, Beth Walsh, 14 Bertwell Road, Lexington, MA 02420.