A highly regarded ‘dignified man’
Robert Gordon Walsh, April 21, 1921 – February 14, 2011.
‘‘ 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.