PITTSTON ‚?? Thomas A. Walsh, 88, a former mayor of Pittston who served four terms, passed away on Monday, leaving behind a legacy of hard-working ingenuity that benefited the city for years, according to those who knew him.
Known as ‚??Mr. Pittston‚?Ě and ‚??the man about town,‚?Ě Walsh was the type of man who was willing to roll up his sleeves and use his muscle to fix something before spending money to have it fixed.
Walsh was part of the U.S. Army engineers and served during World War II, and his ability to figure out how to make things work became invaluable.
Wil Toole, retired former Pittston city clerk, said Walsh used his pumping experience to maintain the Pittston pool to keep it open.
‚??People never knew how much he saved the city,‚?Ě he said. ‚??He did many of the jobs himself.‚?Ě
Toole remembered Walsh pulling together a crew to repair a sewer line near Coopers Seafood. This project saved the city thousands, he said.
Toole said that once the fire company purchased a new fire truck, local architects said the truck could not fit into the fire station.
The day the truck arrived, Walsh came and made some tweaks to the building so the truck fit, said Edward Doran, former Pittston police chief.
‚??He was a brilliant man when it came to mechanics,‚?Ě Toole said.
According to the Sunday Dispatch, Walsh served four terms as mayor, from 1980 to 1998, and was defeated by Michael Lombardo in a heated Democratic primary in 1998.
Former Mayor Lombardo remembered Walsh always put the city first.
‚??He cared about the city before he was mayor,‚?Ě Lombardo said. ‚??He cared about the city while he was mayor. He cared about the city after he was mayor.‚?Ě
Lombardo credited Walsh with getting the ball rolling on downtown revitalization and noted the Tomato Festival was first held under a Walsh administration.
Those who knew him describe as a man who held honesty, hard-working ethics, community, family and the value of one‚??s word in high regard.
Outside of local government, Walsh enjoyed community get-togethers, hunting and fishing. He was quiet, Doran said, but was a big presence in a room.
‚??He had a good sense of humor, never a mean bone,‚?Ě he said. ‚??Just don‚??t cross him.‚?Ě
As a man with old-fashioned values, he was disgusted with today‚??s politics, Toole said.
‚??He used to say, ‚??The values of yesterday are gone today,‚?? ‚?Ě Toole said.
Walsh was married to Elizabeth Bigan Walsh, who preceded him in death in 1996.