Meet Our Donors

Helen and Paul Walsh

Helen and Paul Walsh

“She was 90 years old when she first called me to talk about estate planning,” Pat remembers. “Her husband Paul, whom she had been married to for 63 years, had recently died. I learned that Paul had always advised Helen to do two things if he passed before her. First–move to St. Ann’s Home when caring for the house gets too hard. Second–leave a donation to ensure children can attend Catholic school.”

Though the couple had no children, they both felt strongly about supporting education. Paul, a military veteran of World War II, was a proud graduate of Catholic Central High School and spent his career with the United States Postal Service. Helen came from a large family and worked for more than 30 years at G.M. Diesel Equipment. In her 60s, she achieved her dream of returning to school; she earned a GED from Rockford High School and an associates degree from Grand Rapids Community College. “I could hear it in her voice,” Pat shares. “Education mattered to her and she wanted to ensure every child could attend school, regardless of the cost.”

Pat recalls Helen had boundless energy in spite of her age. “Maybe it’s because Helen only had 25 birthdays,” she jokes, referring to Helen’s birthday on February 29th, a leap year. A long time parishioner of St. Jude, Helen served in a variety of ways, including her role as a Sacristan and Eucharistic Minister. She was active with the Northview Senior Center and enjoyed line dancing. After moving out of her home and into St. Ann’s, she remained active by tending to her little garden plot, leading the Rosary, and attending daily Mass.

Helen worked with Pat to ensure that she and Paul could leave legacy gifts to support students from grammar school through high school. Over time, she and Pat determined the right vehicles that would help Helen reach her philanthropic goals.

“We established two endowed funds with the help of the Catholic Foundation of West Michigan,” Pat says. “The Paul and Helen Walsh Scholarship will benefit Catholic Central students. The All Saints Academy fund will provide tuition assistance to students accepted to All Saints Academy.” Additionally, Pat is working with the Foundation to establish a third fund in support of All Saints Academy. Designed as a restricted fund, it will pay for the school’s STEM-related expenses over the next ten years.

Helen passed away in December of 2020, but she and Paul have left a legacy for years to come. “It was important to me to ensure that Helen and Paul’s wishes would be honored in perpetuity.” Pat says. “The Foundation was easy to work with and most importantly, ensures the Walsh’s faith will continue to make a meaningful and lasting impact in our Catholic community.”

Catholic Foundation of West Michigan Donor Helen and Paul Walsh