Life Story

John Jay Walsh Sr.

Obituaries in Perry, IA | Perry Chief


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John Jay Walsh Sr, 74, passed away June 11, 2022, at Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines after a battle with cancer. John was born February 10, 1948 in Omaha, Nebraska to Leo and Jeanine (Colvin) Walsh. He graduated from East Greene High School in Jefferson, Iowa in 1966. John enlisted in the United States Army in 1968. He earned four medals and was honorably discharged after serving in Vietnam.

The essence of John’s life story is a love story. He fell in love with Margaret “Margie” Ellen Staker when they were both still kids. The two were married on December 23, 1967. He set a nearly impossible example for his children of what true marital love should be. Margie passed away on February 12, 2017. He continued to love her every day of his life.

After serving in Vietnam, John and Margie settled in Perry, Iowa, and raised their family. There is no question that his sacrifices and devotion to his family stemmed from his love of Margie. He was a devoted husband and father, providing a strong and stable home life for his family. His children know how lucky they are and wish they had told him so more often.

John worked at the Oscar Mayer pork plant in Perry until it closed in 1989. He was also an elected union leader for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1149, serving as Secretary Treasurer. Later he worked as a business agent for his union. In the mid-1990’s, John and Margie moved to Des Moines. John worked in the dietary food service at the VA Hospital. From 2006-2020 John served as Deputy Athletic Commissioner where he regulated boxing and mixed martial arts fights with his son, Joey.

John was a strong Democrat and remained active in politics his whole life. He was a delegate for Ted Kennedy in 1980. He was member of the Moose Lodge in Perry, Iowa. He loved camping at Spring Lake with his family. He also played on a pool league for nearly 20 years with members of his family and close friends. He was a talented, self-taught musician. He played the guitar and banjo among other instruments. He taught a number of his children and grandchildren and others to play guitar. Some of John’s most precious memories were times spent with his family, especially grandchildren. John also loved playing poker, gambling and sharing drinks with friends.

Those left to cherish his memory are John’s children: Johnny (Dana) Walsh of Des Moines, Joey (Venus) Walsh of Des Moines, Mikey (Krista) Walsh of Urbandale and Jenny (Will Kellogg) of Des Moines; grandchildren, John Paul and Rose Walsh, Ethan Miles, Safiyah Grace, Jackson, Gabrielle and Apollo Walsh, Katey Walsh, Jessie and Bradley Gates, Dylan and Sawyer Kellogg, and Michael Walsh; great-grandchildren: Katrioma, Magdalena, Kaylee and Azariah Walsh; as well as his mother-in-law Lorinne Staker. John is preceded in death by his parents and siblings: Leo Francis Jr and Mary Walsh.

A Celebration of Life in John’s Honor will be held at the Thoreau Center, 3500 Kingman Boulevard, Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday June 26, 2022, at 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the Walsh Ride against Cancer

Posted online on June 17, 2022

Published in Perry Chief

Service Information

Celebration of Life

Thoreau Center, 3500 Kingman Boulevard, Des Moines, IA
June 26, 2022 at 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM