top of page

James Joseph Walsh, III

James Joseph Walsh, III

November 11, 1930–October 9, 2019

Beloved husband of Lavern, cherished father to Michelle Matthews (Bill) and Kelley Werner (Craig), and adored “Papa Jim” to grandchildren, Eric Werner, Kristin Werner Geissel (Levi), Katie Werner, Meghan Matthews, and Ian Matthews, Jim Walsh passed away on October 9, 2019.

Jim was born in Kansas City, MO, as a son of Kathryn and James J. Walsh, II. He lived a very happy childhood in Kansas City with his mother and grandmother. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1951 at the University of Missouri.

His first news job was at KWOS in Jefferson City, MO. He did a little bit of everything: reporting the news, playing music, and giving the farm report. Landing that job, he would say, was the best thing that ever happened to him, as he met Lavern Snellen there on a blind date. The happy couple was married on October 4, 1952. Jim never was one to brag, except about his beautiful, perfect wife, and later his pride regarding his children and grandchildren.

The couple soon moved to Kansas City, where Jim worked as a television newscaster on KCMO. In 1953, Jim joined the Naval Reserve for two years as a journalist at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. While there, their first daughter, Michelle, was born.

After completing his service, they returned to Kansas City. He resumed his work at KCMO, and had a second daughter, Kelley. While working full-time, he went to the University of Missouri — Kansas City Law School, earning a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1961. He ranked third in his graduating class, passed the Missouri bar and was appointed to the Attorney General’s Honors Program to work in the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., under Robert Kennedy’s administration.

In 1962, the Walsh family moved to California. Jim practiced law at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, where he became a partner in 1973. Jim and Lavern resided in Tiburon, CA.

While winning many trials for IBM, Standard Oil, and other clients was important to Jim, some of his proudest accomplishments were through his pro bono work for St. Luke’s, the Legal Aid Society, the S.F. Bar Association’s Early Settlement Program, and San Francisco Adult Day Health Network, to name a few. Jim was also honored and thrilled to be on the Marin County Grand Jury, and proud of the work they completed.

Jim found great joy in life’s big and little events. He loved to travel with his wife, family, and friends. He was passionate about playing bridge, enjoyed playing tennis until his 80’s, and socializing daily at the dog park while walking his beloved dog, Luke.

Jim’s professional achievements were many, although being a humble man, he would never mention them himself. If asked, he would say his greatest accomplishments would be his happy marriage, raising great children, enjoying many special times with his grandchildren, and creating a close-knit family. He will always be remembered for his kind and gentle ways, his quick wit and smile, and his good sense of humor. He made everyone around him feel loved, appreciated, and important. The feelings were mutual. He will be missed but never forgotten.

A celebration of life for Jim Walsh will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Belvedere, CA. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the charity of your choice.

Recent stories

Support The Ark’s commitment to high-impact community journalism.

The Ark, twice named the nation's best small community weekly, is dedicated to delivering investigative, accountability journalism with a mission to increase civic engagement and participation by providing the knowledge that can help sculpt the community and change lives. Your support makes this possible.

In addition to subscribing to The Ark for weekly home delivery, please consider making a contribution to support independent local journalism. For more information, contact Publisher & Advertising Director Henriette Corn at or 415-435-1190.​

bottom of page