Edmonds woman, 84, who was rescued by carriers, dies
Photo courtesy Pat Upton
Catherine Walsh spent her last Christmas with family members at Aldercrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Edmonds. She could not leave the center, so her daughters brought a ceramic Christmas tree, battery-operated candles, a bulletin board of old Christmas cards and other items to make her feel at home.
Catherine Joan Walsh was moved to a nursing home after the fall and lived there until she died of complications from her injuries and pneumonia Feb. 9.
She had been mentally sound before the episode, but never fully recovered from her injuries. She had days of lucidity after the fall, including when she saw a newspaper article in The Herald about her rescue.
"She was so thrilled about the article in the paper," said Pat Upton, Walsh's daughter. "She got to be centerstage, and that was mom." Walsh wandered outside her home Nov. 18 and slipped into a drainage ditch. She broke her arm, hip, leg and ankle and couldn't remember what she was doing or how long she'd been outside.
Two newspaper carriers found Walsh while delivering papers nearby. They called 911, wrapped her in blankets and stayed with her until an ambulance arrived.
Walsh was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and then transferred to Aldercrest Health and Rehabilitation Center in Edmonds on Dec. 3.
"After the fall, there was just a big chunk of her that was never coming back," Upton said.
She is survived by her daughters, Pat Upton and Terri Walsh, and granddaughter Carrie Mercier.
Walsh spent 38 years in her Edmonds home. She grew up in Budd Lake, N.J., where some of her fondest memories included working outside with her dad and hunting groundhogs with her dog and rifle.
"Mom was the kind of person you'd want to have around if the world was going to end," Terri Walsh said. "We always said that (her mom's house) is where we'd meet if anything happened."
Catherine Walsh married John Walsh in 1952 and moved around with him while he was on military duty, first across the country in a honeymoon road trip, then across the world.
They spent time in Okinawa, Panama and Iran before moving to Washington in 1975.
"She really began to put down roots for the first time when she moved here," Upton said.
She was known to give treats to service people in the neighborhood, leaving coffee drinks and taping candy bars to trash can lids for waste management workers.
She was an avid gardener and only stopped climbing a ladder to trim the trees in her garden last year, at the insistence of her family.
There will not be a memorial service, and in lieu of flowers, her family requests that people make a donation to a pet rescue organization.
Walsh was cremated wearing a kimono she kept from her time in Okinawa. Her ashes will be spread in the garden she loved and in the desert where it is warm.
Ashley Stewart: 425-339-3037; firstname.lastname@example.org.