Monsignor Richard J. Walsh
Monsignor Richard James Walsh was born and raised in Tyrone, PA on January 1, 1917. After attending and graduating from the Augustinian Academy, Villanova College, and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary he was ordained a priest on May 6, 1944.
After his initial local assignments at various locations in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese he was appointed Chaplain at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview in 1950 and served in that capacity for 27 years.
In 1953 he was credited with being instrumental in ending a five-day mutiny by 325 prisoners by talking them into surrendering six hostage guards and their weapons. He was presented with the George Washington Carver Award in 1960 in recognition of his outstanding work with the Rockview inmates.
On July 15, 1974 he was appointed a Monsignor by Pope Paul the Sixth in Rome and on March 10, 1979 he was named to the Penn State University Human Rights Panel. Further recognition was rendered on May 10, 1984 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania House of Representative through their citation recognizing his forty years of distinguished service as a citizen of the commonwealth.
Since his retirement Monsignor Walsh has continued to serve his beloved community through various humanitarian efforts and in particular his daily visits to all of the patients at the Tyrone Hospital where he was become known as “Mr. Hospitality”. Msgr. Walsh was instrumental in persuading Governor David Lawrence to provide the funds for building the All Faith Chapel at Rockview.
A good portion of his time as Chaplain was spent with the inmates families. He felt that they were the primary suffering ones and in recognition for his caring for them their organization represented him with a plaque on August 25, 1979 for which he received national recognition.