Eleanor E. Walsh, 86, lay pastoral minister

March 25, 2004

Eleanor E. Walsh, a Roman Catholic lay pastoral minister who worked for more than 30 years at a North Baltimore seniors residence, died of complications from sepsis Monday at University of Maryland Medical Center. She was 86.

Miss Walsh was born and raised in West Baltimore and was a 1936 graduate of St. Martin's Academy.

"Within six months of graduating high school, she was stricken with ankylosing spondylitis, a crippling form of arthritis which hospitalized her for 11 months and left her unable to walk," said a niece, Bernadette Ledden White of Towson.

"Despite surgeries, casting and numerous medical therapies, the disease left Eleanor, as it did her brother, with a spine fused from the neck to its end and the capability of moving only her arms, hands and knees. After several years, she learned to walk on crutches," she said.

Miss Walsh, who later used a walker, refused to be slowed by her physical condition.

She became affiliated with the Catholic Union of the Sick in America, a correspondence-based ministry to those with chronic diseases, severe illnesses or other disabilities that interfere with their ability to leave home. For more than 30 years, Miss Walsh wrote letters of encouragement and hope to such people.

She also was a typist for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, working in her apartment.

She had lived for 30 years at Kirkwood House, a seniors complex on Loch Raven Boulevard where she was a lay pastoral minister to Catholic residents and coordinated get-well and condolence messages for residents.

She moved last year to Stella Maris Hospice, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road in Timonium, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 1 p.m. today in the chapel.

Miss Walsh also is survived by two other nieces, Jeanne Ledden Simkins of Cockeysville and Sister Iris Ann Ledden of Lexington, Ky.

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