Dorothy M. Walsh, 80, Social Security employee

January 23, 2003

Dorothy Margaret Walsh, a retired Social Security Administration claims examiner and volunteer who helped the needy, died of cancer Jan. 16 at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was 80.

Dorothy Margaret Bohnet was born and raised in Philadelphia, and attended Roman Catholic schools before serving as a Navy Wave yeoman during World War II.

In 1945, she married William J. Walsh, a serviceman whom she had met on a train earlier in the war while returning to Philadelphia for her father's funeral. They got off the train at the same station, and he followed her home.

"Not knowing who she was or anything about her, he got up enough nerve to ring the doorbell," and ask "if a beautiful lady in a Navy uniform could come out," said a daughter, Frances J. Keefer of Forest Hill. Their marriage lasted until Mr. Walsh, a civil engineer, died in 1973.

A Northwood resident since 1952, Mrs. Walsh went to work that year as a claims examiner for SSA. She retired in 1975.

Deeply religious, she was a communicant for more than 50 years at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Northwood, where a funeral Mass was offered Monday.

She also made pilgrimages to Our Lady of Lourdes in France, and to religious sites in Ireland and Yugoslavia.

An adventurous woman who enjoyed travel, Mrs. Walsh celebrated her 70th birthday with a hot-air balloon ride over Africa.

Every Monday for years, Mrs. Walsh took five homemade casseroles to the downtown soup kitchen Our Daily Bread.

Mrs. Walsh was buried in Philadelphia on Tuesday with full military honors.

She also is survived by a son, Daniel L. Walsh of Northwood; two other daughters, Colleen L. Copley of Pasadena and Kathleen D. Walsh of Olney; a brother, John Bohnet of Philadelphia; and seven grandchildren.

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