Margaret “Peggy” Walsh
April 18, 1933 – March 22, 2021
Peggy Walsh, a Helena native and Anaconda resident for 60 years, passed away peacefully on March 22 at the age of 87, surrounded by her loving family. There was dancing and celebration in heaven that day, as Peggy was reunited with her husband Gene, her son John, and countless relatives and friends!
Peggy was born in Helena to Harold and Peggy Garrity, a young couple of Irish descent who loved to laugh and loved to dance. Peggy was soon joined in the Garrity family by her brother Don and her sister Judy. Peggy excelled academically; in 1955 she was among the first female students to graduate from Carroll College in a field other than nursing, graduating Summa Cum Laude. While at Carroll, she was involved with the Hilltopper annual yearbook, wrote for the Prospector student newspaper, and competed on the forensics team. Her bachelor’s degree in English eventually brought her to a teaching position in Anaconda. It was there she met the love of her life, Gene Walsh, a smiling son of Irish immigrants, World War II veteran, talented athlete, and all-around good guy.
Peggy and Gene were married in 1959. Together, they raised five kids—Gene Jr., Rosemary, Judy, John, and Susan—and created a beautiful family that included a daughter-in-law and three sons-in-law, 12 grandchildren, four grandchildren-in-law, and five great-grandchildren. Peggy was deeply committed to Gene and her children, spending countless hours together over family meals, homework, reading, sporting events, family outings, and road trips. She and Gene and the kids also often gathered with members of a large extended family resulting from Peggy’s two siblings and Gene’s ten siblings, along with the many children of their brothers and sisters.
Following her graduation from Carroll, Peggy began her career as an educator, teaching English and language in locations that included Stevensville, St. Louis, Missouri, and Philipsburg. Then, for more than 30 years, she taught English and served as a School Counselor at Anaconda High School (while at the same time earning her Master’s Degree in Education and Counseling from Montana State University). Peggy was passionate about education. She served as a mentor and helped facilitate college scholarships for many high school students to help them realize the benefits of higher education in their own lives. Even following her retirement, she remained a lifelong learner, an avid reader of poetry and prose, and an accomplished master of crossword puzzles and other word games. She used her skill with words to bless family members and friends with beautifully written letters, offering her wisdom, grace or profound consolation. Gene proudly referred to her as “the smartest person I ever met!” Peggy and Gene were together in their Anaconda home until late 2016, when they moved to Helena. There, they were frequently visited by their kids, grandkids and other family members, time treasured by all.
Peggy was a devout Catholic who always held deeply to her faith. Through the years, she and Gene served in various ministry and volunteer roles for the Anaconda Catholic Community. Peggy read numerous theological books, practiced daily prayer, and loved her overseas trips with Gene, family members and friends to holy sites that included Assisi, Medjugorje, and the Vatican. She insisted that the light above the olive groves lining the hills of Assisi was unique in all the world, touched by the presence of Saint Francis.
In retirement, Peggy enjoyed the company of a close group of Anaconda friends who shared her interests, whether fellow teachers, golfers, or members of her church. She reveled in the regular gatherings with her beloved “Lunch Bunch”, where laughter mixed with food and fellowship. And more than anything, Peggy loved hosting and visiting her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, each adoring the other.
Peggy was intelligent, engaging, vibrant, caring, and loving. Like her parents, she loved to smile and loved to laugh. Even as her health declined in her final years, fellow residents and caregivers frequently commented on how joyful she was, always quick to share her smile and laughter.
We will miss Peggy’s smile and laughter. But we know that we will continue to be blessed by her love and care. We know that she and Gene will continue to watch over their family and friends as they are reunited in the company of the Lord they so faithfully served.
Peggy passed away during the first week of spring. She and Gene always loved the song, Somewhere My Love. Among the beautiful lyrics of that song are these:
Someday we’ll meet again, my love
Someday whenever the spring breaks through…
God speed, my love, ‘til you are mine again.
God speed, Peggy/Mom/Grandma Peggy/Aunt Peggy. May the road rise up to meet you…
Peggy was preceded in death by her parents, her son John, her brother Don, and her husband Gene. She is survived by her sister Judy; her children Gene (Jill) Walsh, Rosemary (Mark) Semmens, Judy (Joe) Robinson, and Susan Walsh (Mehmet Kahraman); her grandchildren John (Katie) Walsh, Ryan (Tori) Walsh, Dylan Walsh, John (Jackie) Semmens, Katie (Sam) Carpentier, Kevin Semmens, Meghan Semmens, Sean Robinson, Danny Robinson, Brianna Robinson, Mikaela Robinson, and Ella Kahraman; and her great-grandchildren Gene Semmens, Charlie Semmens, Betsy Semmens, Lucy Carpentier, and Molly Walsh.
Peggy’s life will be celebrated with a Funeral Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Anaconda at 11 am on Saturday, March 27 in compliance with health guidelines. There will be a one-hour Visitation at the Church prior to the start of the service. Immediately following the service, burial will take place at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Memorials can be sent to the John Walsh Memorial Scholarship at Carroll College, Development Office, 1601 North Benton, Helena, MT 59624, or the Anaconda Catholic Community, 217 W. Pennsylvania St., Anaconda, MT 59711.
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John Walsh Memorial Scholarship at Carroll College, Development Office
1601 North Benton, Helena MT 59624
Anaconda Catholic Community
217 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Anaconda MT 59711