A highly re­garded ‘dig­ni­fied man’

Robert Gor­don Walsh, April 21, 1921 – Fe­bru­ary 14, 2011.

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

‘‘ Dig­ni­fied’’, ‘‘ re­spected’’, ‘‘ pro­gres­sive’’ and ‘‘ a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence’’ are just some of the ad­jec­tives used to de­scribe Gor­don Walsh.

The for­mer Makara county clerk, seen as an in­te­gral in­di­vid­ual in the for­ma­tion of Porirua as a city, died last Mon­day at Malv­ina Ma­jor Re­tire­ment Vil­lage, aged 89.

Mr Walsh re­tired from his county clerk­ship in 1976, com­plet­ing 40 years of pub­lic ser­vice that be­gan in 1937 with the Au­dit Of­fice. He and wife Nan lived in Porirua for 43 years, be­fore mov­ing to Kapiti Coast in 2000, and more re­cently to Malv­ina Ma­jor vil­lage in John­sonville.

A for­mer col­league of Mr Walsh from the Porirua Li­cens­ing Trust, John Wat­son, says Makara County Coun­cil, which ad­min­is­tered parts of Porirua, was mooted to be ab­sorbed into and ei­ther es­tab­lished or was ac­tively in­volved with Porirua Rugby Club, North­ern United ( first pres­i­dent af­ter the merger) and Welling­ton RFU, Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bu­reau, Ro­tary and RSA, Porirua Club, Whi­tireia Park Board, Porirua Soft­ball Club, Porirua Rugby League Club and Welling­ton and Maori rugby foot­ball man­age­ment com­mit­tees.

Ken Dou­glas, who has had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with rugby and civic af­fairs in the city, says Mr Walsh was ‘‘an in­sti­tu­tion’’.

‘‘If there was any ma­jor ac­tiv­ity go­ing on in Porirua, he was prob­a­bly be­hind it. Gor­don was a sig­nif­i­cantly pos­i­tive in­flu­ence in­side the Porirua [rugby] club and dur­ing amal­ga­ma­tion. He was not an in-your-face sort of per­son but very well-con­sid­ered and thought­ful. It’s the pass­ing of an era.’’

For­mer Porirua mayor John Burke re­mem­bers Mr Walsh as ‘‘pro­gres­sive’’ and some­one who wanted to see Porirua grow into some­thing res­i­dents would be proud of.

‘‘He had in­cred­i­bly high in­tegrity and was a very good per­son to work with, I was per­son­ally dev­as­tated when he re­tired.’’

Jenny Brash, who gave a eu­logy at Whenua Tapu for Mr Walsh on Fri­day, said it was ‘‘a dig­ni­fied fu­neral for a dig­ni­fied man’’.

Daugh­ter Glenda Walsh says her fa­ther died peace­fully and last week was a chance to cel­e­brate his life and achieve­ments. Fam­ily was the most im­por­tant thing to him, she says.

‘‘We will re­mem­ber him as a hum­ble man with a good heart and he al­ways looked for­ward to his grand­chil­dren and the hugs and smiles they brought him.

‘‘Dad had a pas­sion for Porirua. He didn’t want re­ward and recog­ni­tion but gave a lot of time to his com­mu­nity. He was a sto­ry­teller but al­ways en­gaged and lis­tened to peo­ple. Lat­terly he en­joyed daily walks on the beach with Nan, who he was mar­ried to for 59 years, and tend­ing his rose gar­den.’’

Mr Walsh is sur­vived by his wife Nan, daugh­ter Glenda, sons Euan and Shaun, and six grand­chil­dren.

End of an era: Com­mu­nity stal­wart Gor­don Walsh passed away last week. Those at his fu­neral heard of his love for Porirua, rugby, fam­ily and help­ing his com­mu­nity.

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