John Walsh Sr., 92, a retired road-construction foreman and community activist formerly of Oreland, died of heart failure last Friday at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Fla.
Mr. Walsh owned the first taxi company in Oreland in the 1940s, his family said. In the 1950s, he donated the land and petitioned the archdiocese to build Holy Martyrs Church and School in Oreland.
He was a longtime volunteer with the Oreland Fire Company, and was an elections poll watcher in Oreland into his 90s. People called him the "Mayor of Oreland," said his daughter, Patricia King. He moved to Florida in August to be near family.
Mr. Walsh grew up in Wyndmoor and graduated from Northeast Catholic High School. In 1945 he married Marie Bink Walsh. They had met when he visited his ill father at Chestnut Hill Hospital, where she was a nurse.
For several years he ran the taxi service and a landscape and a scrap-metal business in Oreland before becoming a road foreman. He was involved in major construction projects including the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Turnpikes, the Atlantic City Expressway, and the Great Adventure theme park in Jackson Township, N.J. He retired in his early 60s.
Mr. Walsh was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Knights of Columbus in Glenside, and the Men of Malvern. He served two terms on the Pennsylvania Democratic Committee and campaigned for many candidates, his daughter said.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Walsh is survived by sons John Jr. and Mark; a sister; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. His wife died in 1998.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Monday at Holy Martyrs Church, 121 Allison Rd., Oreland, Pa. 19075. Friends may call after 10 a.m.