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Robert N. Walsh ’44

December 11, 2017, in Vero Beach, Florida.

Raised in Boston, Bob attended Reed for one year. “My going to Reed was accidental, rather than planned,” he said. “A kindly uncle gave me the opportunity at the last minute. As a C+ student, I was out of my league with so many scholarship winners and valedictorians. Not having had my last year of high school math, I had trouble with calculus. Getting extra help only gave me twice as much to do. I couldn’t close the gap and ended up doing rather poorly overall. Personally, however, it probably was the most memorable year in my life.”

He left Reed to fight in World War II, and after the war returned to Boston, where he attended night school. Bob worked as a government engineer until retiring, when he enjoyed painting and doing research on Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery. He also busied himself lobbying state governments to adopt resolutions honoring Thomas Paine, leader of the American Revolution. Paine’s book Common Sense galvanized the decision of the Colonies for independence, and people often invoke his quote, “These are times that try men’s souls.”

Bob quoted John Adams, saying, “without the pen of Thomas Paine, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”

Bob’s wife, Patricia, predeceased him. He is survived by his three children, Susan, Robert, and Mark.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2020

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