IN MEMORIAM: Arthur Joseph Walsh, Jr.

by Jane Ahrens

Arthur Joseph Walsh, Jr., 90, of Fishers Island, New York died Thursday, March 2, 2023 following a period of declining health. Born February 18, 1933 in Fall River, MA, Art grew up on Fishers Island, the son of the late Matilda Wall Walsh and Arthur Joseph Walsh, Sr.

A graduate of Fishers Island School and skilled mariner who spent his life on the water, Art enlisted in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict with duty aboard USS K-1, “Barracuda”, the same ship on which President Jimmy Carter served. In 1958, he married the late Bernadette “Bernie” Dooley, his wife of 46 years, and they settled on Fishers Island, where Art succeeded his father as Postmaster. He remained in the position for 15 years, followed by 14 years in Old Lyme, CT. In 1988, Art returned with Bernie to Fishers Island and established Walsh Contracting, Inc., which they successfully operated until 2002. 

Art will be remembered for his goodness, outstanding character, unconditional commitment to his family, unfailing generosity, exemplary citizenship, and love for his country. Art was a man of few words but had an uncanny ability to make salient, well formulated points at precisely the right time. He often broke the intensity of family discussions with one of his famous one-liners. Even as his dementia advanced, he still captured people’s attention with his dry sense of humor. His family will remember the love and laughter of many hours around his dining room table solving the world’s problems, reminiscing about the past, and enjoying time together.  

Art, like many others who were raised on the Island, appreciated its beauty and carefully stewarded its resources. For many years, he fished at his favorite fishing holes, but like the best of them, he took those secret locations to the grave. Art passed along his passion for fishing, and perhaps a few coordinates, to all five grandchildren during many mosquito infested outings over the years.

Art played golf throughout his lifetime and won many Hay Harbor Club Championships. He became an avid photographer in later years spending countless hours capturing the snowy owl on South Beach and waiting for the right day when the sun set exactly positioned behind Race Rock. His photographs can still be viewed on

Art served on many Island boards, but most proudly as a member and commissioner of the Fishers Island Fire Department. He also served on the board of the Fishers Island School, Walsh Park, and Fishers Island Civic Association (now Island Community Board).   

Art leaves his partner, Frances Needham Roethgen, with whom he shared 17 happy years traveling, visiting with friends, and taking long walks, his daughters Ann Anthony, and her husband, Bob, of New York City, and Sarah Rose, and her husband, Andrew, of Fairhaven MA, and his five grandchildren; Arthur and Sarah Anthony, Mimi Cushing, and Carter and Patrick Rose, all of whom he was very proud.

Art’s family wishes to thank the attentive and compassionate Dr. Chris Ingram of the Island Health Project, as well as Art’s kind and skillful caregiver, Sandra Barker, and the care team at Masonicare at Mystic, including Yvette, Anne, Patty, Glenda, Sara, Ilma, Ana, Eboni, Tinyetta, Tina “Boss Man”, Isha, Katrina, Mary, and many, many others.

A Mass of Christian burial officiated by Reverend Kevin Gillian was celebrated at Our Lady of Grace Church, Fishers Island, NY, on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.  Internment immediately followed with a reception at the Fishers Island Community Center.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Art’s memory to the Fishers Island Fire Department, P.O. Box 123, Fishers Island, NY 06390.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay. Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

A Fishers Island Community Center Program and the accompanying Fog Horn eNewsletter serve as the communications resource for the Fishers Island community. The content – news, calendar, links and photos, milestones, ads, and more create a clear image of Fishers to those on and off the island.

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