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In Memoriam

Barry Walden Walsh

Longtime Longboat Key resident Barry W. Walsh passed away peacefully on May 5, 2024, surrounded by family.


  • | 12:25 p.m. June 11, 2024
  • Longboat Key
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Longtime Longboat Key resident Barry W. Walsh passed away peacefully on May 5, 2024, surrounded by family.

One of four children of St. Armand’s Circle Shoe Store owner, Fred Walden and his wife Dorothy Callahan, Barry grew up in “Old Sarasota” in the 1950s and 60s, as the Ringling Brothers dominated—and developed—The Key. She graduated from Sarasota High, playing the piccolo in the School Band, before heading off to college. Barry graduated from Trinity College in Washington DC, and returned home to Sarasota.  

Barry Walden Walsh, 1941-2024

It was at the wedding of her older sister, Judith Walden Pels, that Barry met her husband, James H. Walsh. He was the best man; she was the maid of honor. Jim and Barry fell in love immediately, and were themselves married at St. Martha’s Church in downtown Sarasota on July 13, 1963.

With her husband’s career as a federal prosecutor taking the family to various parts of Florida through the late 60s, Barry defied norms of the time, and finished her Masters Degree in Biology from The University of Miami while a young mother to toddlers. As her husband’s career in public service took the Walsh Family up to Washington DC in the late 70s, Barry raised their four children (Jim, Brendan, Campion and Gerarda) while working for The Society of American Foresters, and then the Center for Environmental Quality, as an environmental writer and editor.  

Upon their retirement, Jim and Barry returned to their native-Florida, in the mid 1990s, settling back-in, on Longboat Key. Barry’s dual loves of nature and writing were put to use in her published “History of Florida Forests” and as she worked for Selby Botanical Gardens.  Barry also kept her writing local, as a guest columnist for The Longboat Observer, covering local history and real estate happenings on The Key. 

As their four children grew, married, and built families of their own, Jim and Barry’s eleven grandchildren came to be their greatest joy, and this next generation surrounded them on July 13, 2013 when they celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding Anniversary at St. Martha’s Church that year.

As their final years closed, Jim and Barry enjoyed walking around Beercan Island, watching the egrets and blue herons amble through their mangroves, and were very active in their church, where they served as Eucharistic Ministers. When her husband passed away in 2022, Barry was fortified by her children, who adored her to the end. She is survived by sister Sandy Brubaker of Rockville, Maryland, her brother Fred Walden of Bradenton, Florida, her son James W. Walsh of Aberdeen, Washington, her son Brendan B. Walsh of Longboat Key, Florida and her daughter Gerarda M. Culipher, of Oakton, Virginia. Barry will be interred with her husband at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, later this summer.

 

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