Robert "Bob" Walsh

Robert ‘Bob’ Henry Walsh, 87

May 17, 1930-May 21, 2017

Robert “Bob” Henry Walsh passed away Sunday, May 21, 2017, at the family ranch after an extended illness.

Bob was born on May 17, 1930, to Elizabeth (Davis) Walsh and Carter E. Walsh at the family ranch home near Stockton, California. His great-grandfather arrived in Stockton and San Joaquin County after traveling from New York as a hunter for the John James Audubon Party. He was the direct descendent of early settlers in San Joaquin County, California. Bob had a great life and many dreams came true – ranching, racing horses, being a banker, father, husband, father and grandfather.

Bob attended schools in Linden, California and graduated in 1947. After graduation, he worked at farming and ranching with his father and brother, Gene. Through mutual friends, he met a Texas girl who was visiting her brother and sister-in-law in Stockton. And that was that! Coralene Williams and Bob were married on June 11, 1950, which resulted in a marriage that lasted almost 67 years and to which three children were born – Katherine, Kenneth and Karen.

Bob farmed on the family ranch on Jack Tone Road in Linden. His brother Gene bought a cattle ranch in Montana and after visiting them, Bob knew that was what he wanted to do as well. So after buying the Mailey Ranch on the East Bench near Twin Bridges in 1962, Bob packed up his family and moved to Montana. After a rocky start, a lot of hard work with his wife and family at his side, Bob made the ranch profitable. Bob acquired more land, more cattle, and more horses. Bob had a strong affection for horses – he bought his first one at the age of 8. He raised reputable horses that sold at special sales and always had many repeat buyers. He started racing Quarter horses and then moved on to the raising and racing of Thoroughbred horses. Traveling to racetracks all over the country and to most of the Canadian providences to see his horses run was his greatest pleasure and entertainment.

In 1982, Bob was part of group of investors that purchased the First National Bank of Twin Bridges. Soon thereafter, the Bank of Sheridan was acquired and the name changed to Ruby Valley Bank. The motivation to invest in the bank was so that the small communities would be viable with local lending and financial services available. Bob served as Chairman of the Board up until his retirement in 2016.

After the ranch was finally paid off, Coralene convinced him it was time to see some of the world – and they did -- Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Panama Canal, Austria, Germany, and many other beautiful places.

Bob was a faithful supporter of the Twin Bridges School and community. He served two terms on the Twin Bridges school board and was a devoted fan of the Falcons. He was a member of the Church of The Valley, served as a director for Southwestern Montana Stockgrowers, director for the East Bench Irrigation System, WMC Foundation Board, Montana Stockgrowers and Dillon Elks. He was a generous contributor to the Ruby Valley Hospital, Church of the Valley, MSU Bobcats, scholarships and many other charities.
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Bob is survived by his wife, Coralene; children, Katherine Gebhardt (Duane), Kenneth (Mary Beth) and Karen Town (Fred); grandchildren, Jaclyn Gebhardt Oliver (Kyle), Neil Gebhardt, Robert Walsh and Michael Walsh; sister, Nadine VanderLans of Long Beach, California; sisters-in-law, Noni Walsh of Jackson, California and Wanda Williams of Stockton, California; brother-in-law, Gordon Smith of Florence, Montana; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Carter and Elizabeth Walsh; brothers, Earl and Gene; sister-in-law, Lois Walsh; in-laws, C.M. (Pete) and Ada Williams; brother-in-law, John Stewart Williams; and sister-in-law, Glane Smith.

Special gratitude and thanks to Dr. John Madany for his personal care of Bob and family with his home visits, consultations and care. Bob’s last months were comfortable with the loving care of Julie McAlear and Lori Burwell who truly are angels to the family. The Barrett Home Health and Hospice staff are also very much appreciated.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday May 26, at The Round Barn at Twin Bridges, located on the Hamilton Ranch. In lieu of flowers, please consider supporting the Church of the Valley in Twin Bridges or Barrett Home Health and Hospice in Dillon.

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