William James Walsh
December 09, 1946 - June 24, 2021
William "Bill" Walsh, Jr, age 74, of Phoenix, AZ passed on to eternal life on June 24, 2021, with his loving wife and children by his side. Born to William and Eleanor Walsh in 1946 in Buffalo, New York, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School, Canisius High School, and went on to earn a degree in Education from State University of New York. He taught at Cloverbank School in Hamburg, NY until he decided to further his education at the University of Arizona in Tucson, working on a Masters in Racetrack Management. He enjoyed a long career in Horse Racing, retiring as the Director of the Arizona Department of Racing in July 2015.
Bill was a gentleman and a gentle man. He was a proud Irishman and grew up in South Buffalo NY. He had easy access to New York City where he often went to take in a Broadway play after a day at the races. In July 1972, he married Linda, his lifetime sweetheart, and together they raised four children, Susan, Kevin, and twins, Brian and Erin. In their 49 years together, the family lived in many states across America, eventually settling in Phoenix, AZ.
Bill had a strong passion for all sports but in particular, he faithfully followed horse racing from the time he was a young man. One year he had the opportunity to attend the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Their daughter Erin, during her time as a student in Lexington KY, frequently solicited his expert advice for Derby winners, but they usually fell short of cashing in on winning tickets! Bill instilled his love of sports in his sons, Kevin and Brian, which often made for great bonding opportunities. Bill was a lifelong Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills fan. His fervent hope was to have at least one team win a championship while he was alive. Both teams came close (but he annually had to apologize to his family for making them fans!).
In retirement, Bill's sense of adventure led him and Linda to explore Italy, a country he fell deeply in love with while visiting Linda's extended family. He often recounted cherished memories of his trips to Italy with Linda, daughter Susan, and grandson, Anthony. Bill's grandsons were his pride and joy, and he regularly regaled friends and family with stories of their escapades. Bill was guided by his faith and a devoted family man. He was a dedicated parishioner of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church and faithfully attended morning mass and Perpetual Adoration for many years. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 32 years, a founding member of the Knights of Columbus Council (14357), where he was treasurer for 9 years, and attained the Third Degree. For his years of dedicated service, he was awarded an honorary lifetime membership. Bill was a scholar, an avid reader, lover of history and politics, and could often be found in his favorite chair with a book. His knowledge and wisdom were well regarded among family and friends.
Bill is preceded in death by his father, William Sr. He is survived by his mother Eleanor of Hamburg NY, brother Tom and sister Susan of Buffalo NY, wife Linda (née Gomez), children Susan, Kevin, Brian, and Erin, son-in-law John Bassetti, and beloved grandsons Anthony, John, and Joseph Bassetti.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 1st, 2021 from 5 pm to 8 pm, with a rosary beginning at 7 pm, at Hansen Desert Hills Mortuary located at 6500 E Bell Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Funeral services will be held on Friday, July 2nd, 2021 at 11 am at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church located at 3801 E. Greenway Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85032. Lunch will be held immediately after the funeral mass at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Bill be made to Aid to Women's Center (Tempe AZ) or Treasure Valley Classical Academy (Fruitland ID). If a donation is not possible, please enjoy a nice Italian cappuccino or even a regular cup of 'joe' with loved ones in his memory.