Eddie Walsh was a gentle giant who impacted my family significantly. . This extraordinary man was my cousin Brian's best friend through life and death, but it was only after Brian died that we truly understood what the meaning of best friend truly meant. Eddie Walsh taught us well.
When Eddie and Brian were 29 years old, they ran a road race for a fundraiser. After the race, they went to a pub in Watertown to celebrate the successful day. But it turned out to be a tragic time as Brian collapsed in the parking lot. Eddie administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until the paramedics arrived; no matter how much Eddie had tried, it didn't matter-Brian passed away.
I watched this gentle giant, who stood over 6 foot four inches tall, take my 5 foot aunt into his arms, and sob with her uncontrollably over the loss of Brian. I quietly watched this as amazing man stood by my aunt and uncle and supported them for years after this tragic loss.
Our family was so grateful as this leader organized a memorial golf tournament year after year that made thousands upon thousands of dollars that were returned to the community; Eddie carefully guided the committee to make sure that the funds were donated to places where children were helped, particularly places that Brian would have loved such as Watertown's YMCA and Oak Square's Boys and Girls Club.
Eddie always emceed the party and auction after the golf tournament. He was known for readjusting what tickets were pulled from the raffle hat as he wanted to make sure that every child in the room went home with a prize. He also greeted each and every person in the room to thank them for coming to this event; it was my family that was most grateful that this best friend honored Brian every single year, yet he was thanking us! That was Eddie -very sincere, genuine, respectful, loving, humble , loyal, duty bound and caring. Everyone of us learned a lesson about being a best friend from watching Eddie Walsh honor the memory of my cousin Brian.
It was clear that the most loved people in Eddie's world at age thirty were his mother, father and Brian. Next became his wife and his three children. Eddie's devotion to friends and family was endless.
This gentle giant dropped in on my aunt and uncle throughout the years. As difficult as it was for him to sit with his deceased friend's parents, Eddie made it his duty to make sure that he touched base with them. For fourteen years, never did a birthday or anniversary of Brian's death pass without Eddie honoring the his memory.
One could feel the grace of God while in Eddie's presence. You saw it in the way that he honored his parents, and how he suffered when his father passed away. You saw it in his eyes when he spoke of his wife or when he was with his children. Everyone felt special in Eddie's presence because he gave you his undivided attention and treated you with respect one would give a king, or queen, no matter who you were.
You saw the love for friends, family in his eyes and you felt the passion for life when he spoke of his children. This guy was the real deal.
God has called Eddie home and none of us understand this. His time was far too short and he was doing such great work here on earth. This angel has earned his wings at far too early age.
Eddie Walsh has been a role model for each one of us and showed us what it is like to live as a truly decent human being who cares more for others than himself, and his death is just one example of this. People will always remember that he died as a hero in a fire, but I hope that they will know that Eddie Walsh was a hero, a quiet hero, each and every day of his life.
Our tears flow endlessly because we have lost somebody so special too soon, but they're probably cheering in heaven where Eddie has joined Brian and his father as the most recent angel who has completed his mission on earth.
Eddie left ya mark on so many souls here on earth, and we thank him for the example that he set.
Rest in peace, Gentle Giant.