I was born in December 1965 as the
fourth of seven children and was raised in a modest home in the Village section of Pompton Plains, New Jersey. My parents were practicing Catholics and were
active parishioners at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church during my
formative years. I attended Catholic
elementary school as did my brothers Donald, John and my sister Patricia. Donald was the only sibling to receive a Catholic School education from kindergarten
through high school. The rest of our schooling was in the local public schools.
My siblings in birth order are Thomas, Michael, Donald,
John, Patricia and Ann Marie. We were raised in a very close knit family.
While we lacked many material possessions, we were loved and cared for by our
parents, Donald and Marguerite. Our parents strove to provide us with a
better life then they experienced. Dad worked at several different jobs
during my childhood, including an almost two-year period of unemployment during
the recession of the early 1980’s.
Mom was truly the glue that held the family
together. She not only kept Dad going, she
was intimately involved in the lives of each of her children. Our
treated as family and she always placed our needs above her own. Mom
accepted with open-arms any girls the boys brought home and readily
added another chair to the dining room table. Mom treated Melinda like
one of her own, not simply the wife of her son - as she did with all the
Although our childhood was financially
strained, our parents shielded us from the struggles they faced. I am most certain that all of my siblings
would agree that we were raised with demonstrative love and without material
want. It is no wonder that the Walsh
siblings are still reeling from the untimely passing of our mother in April
All of the seven
Walsh kids are married with children and in stable relationships. Dad
is enjoying life, is in reasonably good health and has rekindled a
childhood friendship with Mary, a widow who provides companionship. At
first, we were not particularly happy with
this relationship. But, upon reflection,
it may have been a bit selfish of us as we were thinking of our own
loss. Losing mom was tough, but Dad lost a life
partner of 46 years. As grown children,
we had families of our own, but all he had was an empty house, filled
many memories; so I am glad that Mary came into his life. We love Mary
and are glad that she is a part of Dad's life.
Dad did his best for us and loved his
family, even though it was rarely openly expressed. Actually, I feel closer to Dad today then I
did as a kid. But, he always put his
family first and he was a great role model of perseverance and tenacity.
The seven Walsh kids have provided our parents with 20 grandchildren – with more on the way! Mom really loved her grandchildren and we
miss her deeply. We have great hope that Mom
responded to the message of the cross heard countless times. The following message from the apostle Paul was spoke often in the Walsh household: For
it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8
We miss you mom!
Melinda and I met in middle school in 1980 and were married ten years later. So, I have known my in-laws for more than two-thirds of my life. Her parents, Marianne and Ken raised two girls in a Christian home environment. Melinda, the older of the two is six
years apart. They were raised on the
other side of the railroad tracks, in a more desirable part of town. Melinda’s parents owned a local florist in
town for over 40 years, where they were well known and highly respected in the
The girls lived in the Pompton Plains section of Pequannock Township and lived comfortably for most of
their childhood. Although, the business enabled Ken and
Marianne to meet their family’s financial needs, the family lacked emotional
Ken was a very talented floral designer
and constructed the most exquisite and beautiful arrangements, but it was
Marianne who had the business acumen that kept the flower shop running. Ken was involved in the local Rotary Club for many years and with many charitable causes. They were active in a local Baptist Church
in North Jersey for many years, including a
stint by Ken as an Deacon.
The public image of Melinda’s family could be
characterized as an All American Family. Unfortunately, Ken exhibited signs of having a bi-polar disorder, where he would display severe mood swings. At time his manic moments wrecked havoc in the family and created stress on
Marianne and the girls. Despite the
situation at home, Marianne was committed to her family. She was the glue that held the family together. She had the burden of managing the affairs of the family business, caring for the girls, maintaining a house - all with keeping an eye on Ken, hoping that nothing would set him
off sending the family into chaos, again.
Ken, in many ways, was an enigma. One minute he was maniac and completely
insensitive and the next moment moved to tears.
However, I have no doubt that he loved his wife, girls, son-in-laws, and
grandchildren. Despite the challenges Ken faced as a
husband and father, he truly loved the Lord. He often would engage people in conversation
about their need for salvation – at times very forcibly. He was unashamed to speak about the gospel
and what Jesus Christ meant in life.
Ken and Marianne were, in many ways, my second set of parents. I met them when I was 13 years old and have known them practically my whole life. Melinda and I have been so fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with each of our in-laws. We often would vacation together as Melinda was as close to my parents and I was to hers. Unfortunately, that closeness is something missing is many families today. But, it is something we do not take for granted; Brianne and Alex have been the beneficiaries of such a close bond with all four grandparents.
My Immediate Family
After we were married in October 1990, we moved into the same home in Pequannock, New Jersey where Melinda was raised until she was four years old. We were there nine years until our move to Easton Pennsylvania. In our hometown of Pompton Plains both sets of parents were within a few minutes drive away which our parents really enjoyed.
Raising our kids in the same town where we grew up certainly had its advantages. We knew the town, the people, and became involved with many of the town's activities. The kids were in the parades, played at the parks, and went to Vacation Bible School. They spent time helping their grandmother make floral arrangements as the flower shop was a short walk down the street. Pequannock was a great town to grow up in. But, when Brianne was six years old and Alex two years old we left and started a new adventure in Pennsylvania.
During my time in college and the first few years in education, I was active in the local and county level Republican Party, holding various leadership posts. In 1988, I was part of Vice President George H.W. Bush's Motorcade when he came to the Secaucus Hilton Hotel for a campaign stop as part of his Presidential Campaign. It was exciting to meet the Vice President and Maureen Reagan and be a part of history. It was fun to watch the whole process.
I was elected to the Pequannock Township Board of Education in 1990 where I served one three-year term and a year as President of the Board. A few years later, I was elected to the Pequannock Township Council for a term of 4 years. A year later, I moved out of state.
Since the kids were so young when we moved to Pennsylvania, Easton has become their adopted hometown. Brianne and Alex settled in right away as they became involved with many of the available athletic programs. Brianne continued her passion for dance at a new studio - and life moved on.
Brianne is attending Eastern University majoring in Nursing and Alex is a high school freshman. I have learned over the past few years not to cling on to things too tightly and always be flexible. All of us have learned much about life and about the impact of the choices we make.
We are committed to putting God first in our lives which forces us to view life differently. Joshua told the people of Israel many years ago to decide what type of God they would serve. Joshua declared that he would serve the Lord. "...And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15
We too, are committed to making the same declaration that Joshua made...As for me and my house, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD! By God's Grace we will strive toward that goal daily.
In a blog post from June 2011, I included a video clip from an ABC News Report which highlighted the declining value of the American Dollar compared to the British Pound Sterling. As part of that report, we were interviewed in front of Buckingham Palace during a European Vacation in August 2007.
It was a wonderful vacation filled with many memories. But, it also represented the calm before the storm in my personal life. It was only short time after I returned home when my life was radically changed, which I now characterize as my 'Personal Failure.'
That trip has bittersweet memories for me and in many ways represented a demarcation point in my life. I am on a different path now, with different priorities. But, I thought this video was worth noting and thus have included it on my site.