Our friend and co-worker Matt Walsh passed away peacefully on Friday, June 20, from brain cancer. He was 45.
Matt was so many things to so many people. He was a loving husband, a caring father, a loyal friend, a bold speaker — an inspiring man. Those who had the privilege of working with Matt during his time at JCB knew him as a man of strong character, a man of strong faith and a man who was passionate about life.
Matt grew up in the construction equipment industry. He joined the JCB family in 1997 as the product manager for wheel loaders. His enthusiasm and charisma quickly built him a reputation throughout the company as a “go to guy.” He would make the long commute from his home in New Jersey to the offices in White Marsh, Md., and would often be found at his desk late at night after others had gone home.
Matt’s dedication and work ethic were unparalleled. He was often described as a company man. Matt didn’t need to wear his company colors; they ran in his veins (although he was very fond of his canary yellow ConExpo jacket).
His love for people was reciprocated by the many that surrounded him and were drawn to his exuberance. He had a unique understanding of what people needed even if they were unable to articulate it.
Matt had a way of “cutting to the quick” in a very real and honest way that people always appreciated.
Matt progressed upwards through the company and soon took responsibility for the Northeast as general manager. He worked closely with his dealers and was well respected by all of them. He spent a great deal of time with JCB personnel in his region passing on his wisdom and sharing his experience.
He exuded passion into everything he did, an entertainer at heart. You might say that Matt told a story with his whole being, arms flailing and his booming voice rising and falling with his narratives. Matt also was a very talented singer. He served as the cantor at St. Joseph’s Church and St. David Church in Willow Grove, Pa. He, on occasion, would share this talent and sing at JCB gatherings.
Many people did not know that Matt played college football. (He never bragged about his accomplishments.) Over the years, he enjoyed coaching both little league football and baseball. He will be missed by the many children he coached and taught over the years.
Matt was the loving father of five children: Katie, Francis, Maggie, Tommy, and Lizzie. He would work long hours for JCB and drive until the wee hours of the morning to be at home with his family. Matt had prioritized his life correctly in that he knew that God and family came first, and then he represented his company every day to the very best of his ability. An example of this is the tireless way he re-created the Northeast region after one of our former dealers, with multiple branches, went out of business. Matt recruited, trained and developed six new dealers at virtually the same time so that the JCB business would continue in his region.
Matt Walsh’s life is a great example to all of us. He planned well and lived his life for “the long haul.” Although he did not have the blessing of longevity, the quality of his years with us is how he will be remembered. He will always be the big, strong, and smart Irishman who never strayed from the truth, would help anyone and was loyal almost to a fault. But in the end, it was his quiet courage and the dignified way he faced his condition that is the greatest example of all.
Those of you who share Matt’s faith know where he is and that you will see him again and hear him sing in that wonderful Irish tenor voice. Until then we will always have many precious memories of our good friend, Matt.
In addition to his children, Matt leaves behind a wife, Colleen (Kelly). He also was the devoted son of Paula (Schmid) Walsh and the late Francis Walsh, brother of Karen Alekna (Jim), Francis Walsh (Gloria), Timothy Walsh (Linda), Carlin Barrett (Mike), Patrick Walsh (Michelle) and the late Brenda Johnson (Rich).
A funeral mass was held at St. Jude Church in Chalfont, Pa. Interment was at St. John Neumann Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Brain Tumor Society for “Team Walsh” Race for Hope, 124 Watertown St., Suite 3H, Watertown, MA 02472.