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Cornelius Calnan Walsh

September 18, 1948 ~ May 18, 2023 (age 74) 74 Years Old


Cornelius Calnan Walsh, Diplomat, melded diplomacy with his Irish ebullience into a career and life for which he was born. On every continent, Walsh took it as his personal responsibility to shake every hand and speak to every person at any time about foreign policy and democracy. When welcoming incoming officers he’d assure them that, “they had the best job in the world.” Walsh passed on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Born in rural Connecticut, it was his love of books that propelled him into the world of history and international relations. Walsh forged friendships that lasted his lifetime. He maintained close ties with childhood mates in Connecticut. He is proud of the refugee children that he mentored from elementary school to adulthood. He was a front porch icon of his Fredericksburg community and a faithful member of his coffee group, The Donuts.

His remarkable life would have been less bright without the fellowship and love of his family. He is survived by his wife, Kathleen; daughters Catherine, Bridget, and Frances; their spouses Gabriel Wilmoth, Jeff Stumb, and Meghan Martinere; and grandchildren Silas, Eileen, Marion, Claire, and Ellen.

A note from colleague Ambassador Harry Thomas (ret.) “Neal stressed the importance of talking (very long in his case) and listening quietly to everyone no matter how humble their station in life, in their language, often without an interpreter, to ensure that our government knew exactly what they thought and what they expected of the United State, to ensure that Washington knew their real beliefs and expectations.

With a disarming personality, penchant for storytelling, fearlessness, love of the unknown, strong moral code, and unbounded generosity, Walsh truly was, as his daughter put it, “unapologetically himself.”

Services for Neal Walsh will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2023 at St George’s Episcopal Church followed by a reception for sharing memories. The burial will take place at a later date in Winsted, CT.

Walsh asked that in lieu of flowers, you consider a contribution to The Table at St. George’s or Fredericksburg’s Safe Harbor Advocacy Center for Children.


Funeral Service
May 25, 2023

2:00 PM
St. George's Episcopal Church
905 Princess Anne Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401


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