Meet Association VP Jack Walsh

NOVEMBER 2000 -
Our Man In Western Mass - Our Association's vice presidents and executive board members are
strategically located throughout the Commonwealth. One of our
hardest-working and most dedicated vice presidents is Jack Walsh, vice
president of the Western Mass District.

Walsh,
a former benefits manager at UMass Amherst, was actually earmarked for
this post prior to retiring in 1995, a period in time when we knew in
advance that Chet Chernick was stepping down from his seat as Western
Mass Vice President.

"In
his job at UMass, Jack interacted with all the agencies dealing with
retirement and health insurance," said Association President Ralph
White. "He was on a first name basis with the same personnel that we
had been dealing with over the years. He first called me with a
question on pension legislation some 18 years ago and later started
attending our meetings in Western Mass. I could see that he was
tailor-made for a leadership position in our organization. Our contacts
in Western Mass said, 'Get Jack Walsh when he retires,' and we did."

Winthrop Native

Walsh
was born and raised in Winthrop, where he attended Winthrop High and
became an Eagle Scout and camp counselor in the summer. His brother Bob
still lives in Winthrop and is a teacher at Kennedy Elementary School
in nearby East Boston.

After
graduating high school, Jack attended UMass Amherst where he received
his bachelors and masters degrees in business administration. It was at
UMass where he met his future wife, Helen Eaton, while he was a
sophomore and she a freshman from Centerville.

After an April 1958 wedding, Jack took a job with Pittsburgh Plate
Glass in Barberton, Ohio. The Walsh's lived in Ohio until 1964. All
three of the Walsh children were born in Ohio but Jack proudly points
out that his children "all attended college in Massachusetts and all
live in the state."

In
June of 1964 Jack received word of an opening in the employee benefits
office at UMass. He applied, was interviewed by then President John
Legerle, and landed the job.

After
settling in Hadley, the Walsh's became fixtures in the greater UMass
community. Jack continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the
Mass. Five Colleges Credit Union, which has 22,000 members and $118
million in assets. He is chairman of the personnel board of the
Hampshire Council of Governments and is a member of the Hampshire
(formerly Hampshire County) Retirement Board.

Jack
is involved with several UMass committees, his favorite being the UMass
sports luncheon committee where he regularly takes a turn as master of
ceremonies. He and Helen, who passed away last year, have long held
season tickets to UMass basketball, football and hockey games.

After
retiring, Walsh was asked by Amherst Police Chief Don Maia if he would
volunteer to help out at the police station one day each week. Jack
agreed and says, "While I don't actually do police work, I find that I
can be helpful in pointing people in the right direction when they come
to the station with a problem or question." Maia, who recently retired,
said "Jack knows everyone in the Amherst area. Our station is very busy
at times and Jack has been one of our most valuable volunteers."

Association
members in Western Mass also confirm Jack's value. "I contacted Mr.
Walsh about an insurance problem that involved the Commonwealth's
Medicare Extension Plan," said Ruth Trott of Holyoke. "He said 'Give me
a day to work on it and I'll get back to you.' Within two hours, I
received a phone call from the Insurance Commission assuring me that my
problem was resolved, followed by another call from Mr. Walsh asking if
everything was OK and did I have any other problems. Now that's service
with a capital S."

"Jack
Walsh was especially valuable this spring when town meetings and city
councils were voting on the new COLA law," said Ralph White. "Jack put
a lot of mileage on his car and called me late at night on many
occasions to give me the results of the votes he was covering.

"Jack
is relatively young at 64, is in great shape and has a tremendous
amount of energy. He thinks nothing of driving to Boston and back on
short notice. I'm on the lookout for a few more Jack Walsh's. I'm
hoping to get lucky, both for myself and for our members."

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