AUBURN - Thomas Dean Walsh Sr., of 14 S. Hunter Ave., Auburn, passed from this life Monday, Sept. 27, 2004, at Auburn Memorial Hospital. He was born Dec. 15, 1921, the son of Frances Dodge Walsh Rood Nunnally and Dr. Thomas Byrne Walsh.
After graduating from Onondaga Valley Academy, he enlisted in the army and served in the Quartermaster Corps from 1942 to 1944 until discharged honorably. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1946 with a bachelor's degree, majoring in history. He was president of both the class of 1946 and his fraternity, Delta Upsilon. He was a member to Tau Theta Upsilon, the Senior Honorary Fraternity and was president of Kappa Phi Kappa, the educational honorary association.
He was a member of Rotary and the Owasco Yacht Club.
While at SU, Tom met Eloise Miles of Bennington, Vt. In August 1946, they were married in the Old First Church at Bennington.
Starting at the Lincoln Bank in the new business department, Tom worked with many of the creative businessmen that were responsible for the rapid post war growth that Syracuse experienced. In 1951, he switched careers, leaving the bank to join his stepfather, Merton Rood, in establishing Rood Utilities in Auburn. Tom's greatest innovation was the founding, in 1964, of a training division that has had attendees from the HVAC trade from every state in the northeast as well as Wisconsin, Utah and Wyoming. He greatly enjoyed his business, retiring in name only in 1984, but continuing to come in every day for contact with employees and customers. He often expressed the wish to "die at his desk" if possible. During his more than 50 years he (and his company) survived the flood of 1972 that destroyed his school and the Dunn & McCarthy fire of 1993 that destroyed the entire building. Always an optimist, he was discussing where to find a new building at 3 a.m. the night of the fire! He expressed a great deal of satisfaction with the fact that through prudent management, payroll for all employees continued without interruption despite the complete loss the company suffered. Roods was shipping parts within one week of the fire.
Until physical infirmity overcame him, Tom had a record of 70 continuous years attendance at Syracuse football games. He enjoyed keeping in contact with his fraternity brothers, working with the Boy Scouts, playing chess and was a devotee of classical violin music. He read voraciously and was a great fan of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Accompanied by his wife, he managed to find the time to visit much of Europe and vacationed regularly at Stowe, Vt. and Sanibel Island in Florida, where he enjoyed seeing his oldest friend from his Syracuse boyhood, Dr. Charles Ryan, who predeceased him.
In 1987, Tom was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma which was nearly always fatal at that time. He made contact with the Urology Department of Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Center and through aggressive treatment and with the support of the dedicated staff, most particularly, Dr. Robert Huben, he was granted 18 more years of life. He was anxious from that point on to counsel others who had likewise received an alleged death sentence, never failing to urge them to think positively and to take charge of their own treatment. He was awarded recognition by the Gratwick Society of Roswell for his generous support.
Despite overcoming numerous obstacles throughout a busy and productive life, there was to be no answer for Alzheimer's disease which began to have an effect approximately a year ago. Until he could no longer climb the steps to his office, Tom continued to visit and stay in contact with his customers and those people at his company with whom he had spent so many enjoyable hours.
Tom's memory will be preserved by his survivors; Eloise, his wife of 58 years; son, Thomas Dean Jr., his wife Nancy and sons Thomas David and John Martin; son David, his wife Christine, son Colin and daughters Leah and Kelsey; daughter Nancy, her husband Rich, sons Justin White, Todd White and Cody White and daughter Emily White McKee; great-grandchildren Stratton and Elspeth White; nieces Frances Van Vlack and Jennifer Rae. Tom was predeceased by his mother and his brother James Preston Walsh.
A memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 at SS Peter & John Episcopal Church, Auburn. Friends may visit the family 10 to 11 a.m. at the church prior to the memorial service. Burial in Soule Cemetery, Sennett will be a private service for family members.
Please omit flowers. Contributions may be sent to Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Center, Elm and Carlton St., Buffalo, NY 14263 or Alzheimer's Association of Central New York, 441 West Kirkpatrick St., Syracuse, NY 13204.
Langham Funeral Home has arrangements.