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Originally published: 2013-10-29 12:07:36
Last modified: 2013-10-29 12:07:36

Thomas Willis Walsh Jr.

Thomas Wills "Tommy" Walsh Jr., 76, of Blowing Rock, passed away on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, surrounded by family and friends following an extended illness.

Mr. Walsh was born in Banner Elk to the late Thomas Wills Walsh Sr. and Evelyn Virginia Greever Walsh. In addition to his parents, Mr. Walsh was preceded in death by his uncle, Steadman Greever.

At the time of his death, Mr. Walsh was the Assistant Director of the Sustainable Development and Outreach Program at Appalachian State University, the oldest Sustainable Development program in the country. He was a businessman in Mountain City, Tenn., and area communities for many decades. He owned Greever & Walsh Wholesale, Walsh & Walsh Printing, Rainbow Paper and Mill and Fabric Outlet, for which he came up with his favorite slogan, "The best kept secret in Tennessee."

Mr. Walsh was also one of the primary members involved in many community development projects, including one of the original founders of the Johnson County Welcome Center, Elk Knob Conservancy Organization, A.S.U. Outreach, Cove Creek Community Center, Chairman of Johnson County Tourism Board, reopening the old Johnson County Hospital, building the first nursing home in Johnson County and founder of Trade Days. Tommy was also founder of the Doc Watson Music Festival, as well as Johnson County Nature Conservancy. For many years he served as the Chairman of the Johnson County Democratic Party, and was the longest serving chairman in the State of Tennessee.

Tommy was a United States Army Veteran and a member of First Christian Church of Mountain City. He loved spending time with and enjoying the company of his family, especially his grandchildren. Mr. Walsh had many hobbies including hunting, fishing, golf and A.S.U. football.

Survivors include his wife Elizabeth Anne Poff Walsh, Mountain City, Tenn.; daughters, Stephanie Alheid and husband, Harry, Gulf Shores, Ala.; Sharon Reece and husband Noah, Johnson City, Tenn., and Susan Walsh, Hickory; grandchildren, Mattie Reece, Johnson City; Samantha Cornett, Mountain City; and Hayes Alheid, Gulf Shores; brother, Richard "Dick" Walsh and wife, Judy, Mountain City; brother-in-law, Tommy Poff, Damascus, Va.; several nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive. In addition to his family, Mr. Walsh had several special friends, Jack Simpson, Richard Wolfe, Jeff Boyer, Joe Sherwood, Danny Herman, Joe Atwood, George Wilson, Bill Bower and Dr. Sandra Lubarsky.

Funeral services for Mr. Walsh will be conducted at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in the Charles B Hux chapel of Hux- Lipford Funeral Home with Mr. Richard Morehouse and Mr. Jeff Boyer to officiate. Music will be provided by George Wilson, Jimmy Cannon, Wade Norris, and Janice Russell, pianist. A special tribute will be provided by Williard Watson III, followed by Richard Wolfe and Evelyn Cook. The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until the service hour. Military graveside service and entombment will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, in the Sunset Memorial Park Mausoleum of Love accorded by the Johnson County Honor Guard.

Pallbearers will be Williard Watson III, Dan Loeven, Noah Reece, Harry Alheid, Merle Lynch, Richard Wolfe, Greg Tant and Paul Walsh. Honorary pallbearers will be Donald Greever, George Wilson, Joe Atwood, Danny Herman, Blackie Blevins, Nick Friedman, Jack Simpson, Harold Arnold, Lewis Wills, Jimmy Karl Greever, Bill Church, John Warren, Joe Sherwood, Ed Baker and Ed Hamm.

Flowers are accepted or memorials may be made to the Walsh-Wolfe Scholarship Fund, Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Program, Appalachian State University, Box 32080, Boone N.C. 28608.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Watauga County Hospital, Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation, Hound Ears Security and ASU Faculty and Staff.

Online condolences may be sent to the Walsh family through our website at

Professional Services for Thomas Wills "Tommy" Walsh are in the care of Hux-Lipford Funeral Home, Mountain City.