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Alice S. Walsh, Dewey Beach icon

February 7, 2019

Alice Stanford Walsh of Dewey Beach died Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes. She was born May 26, 1931, in Chester, Pa., to Jester and Esther Stanford, and moved with her family to the small town of Spence near Snow Hill, Md. a few years later.

Alice enjoyed a rural childhood on a family farm, attended Snow Hill schools and graduated from Snow Hill High School in 1948. She attended Salisbury Teacher's College for two years and then enrolled at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore to train as an x-ray technician. She later moved to Lewes to take a job at Beebe Hospital, and soon met her future husband, Navy veteran, Dewey Beach resident, lifeguard and Bottle & Cork bartender James T. Walsh.

The couple married Sept. 12, 1953, at St. Edmond Catholic Church, the same day John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier were wed. Alice settled down to raise their family while her husband ran an electronics sales and repair business from their Dewey Beach home. They welcomed 10 children over the next 13 years.

Alice and Jimmy moved to Lewes after failing to fend off a property grab by the State of Delaware to dualize Ocean Highway. When construction of the Freeman Highway caused their Lewes home to be demolished, they remodeled the Dewey Beach house to accommodate their growing family and moved back in 1964. Alice resided there until her death.

As a member of St. Edmond Catholic Church in Rehoboth Beach, Alice was involved in the local Catholic school her children attended until it closed down in 1969. She worked at a variety of jobs over the years - bus driver, dog groomer, drug and alcohol counselor. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, she helped organize the Dewey Beach Citizens Association, which worked toward the eventual incorporation of the town July 4, 1981.

In subsequent years, she served on the town planning and zoning commission and the board of adjustment, becoming its chairwoman. She successfully ran for election in 2003 and served a two-year term as commissioner. Alice remained involved in Dewey Beach government and local community affairs in the ensuing years, and was a familiar and beloved character around town.

Alice's well-known straightforward manner is best expressed in her own words: "I speak my mind," she said. "It's just the way I am. I've been doing it since I was 4 years old, and I prefer to think of it as a gift, though not everybody does. I do not judge people, but I don't suffer fools at all, and I get really impatient with people who don't listen."

Alice was predeceased by husband James T. Walsh, and infant sons Timothy and Patrick Walsh; father Jester Stanford; mother Esther Virginia (Payne) Stanford Trader; stepfather Willie "Gramps" Trader; and sister Nancy and her husband William Beach.

Survivors include children Michael and Alison Walsh, Denise and Wayne Miller, Thomas and Donna Walsh, Teri and Ronson Burton, Claire Walsh and Jeff Viscount, Bernadette and Chip Hearn, Joseph Walsh, and Francis and Dawn Walsh; grandchildren Ben and Ginger Miller, David Miller, Ronson Jr. and Jenev Burton, Michael Burton and Riley Kratzer, Sean Hearn, Aileen Hearn and Kyle Ten Eyck, Nicole Viscount, Peter and David Walsh, and James and Jacob Walsh; great-grandchildren Cohen and Elan Miller; and a host of nieces and nephews.

She was a beloved Mom and Grandmom to an extended clan that included families who needed a temporary home, surfers and skimboarders from around the world, legions of children who rode her school bus, and the entire village who kept her loved and safe.

You all know who you are. You allowed her to remain in her Dewey Beach community, the most important place in her life. As she said, "I don't 'shiv-a-git' about the rest of the world." The boundless gratitude of the entire Walsh family goes out to each and every one of you.

If you "shiv-a-git" about Alice, please join us at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10, at The Starboard restaurant in Dewey Beach for a celebration of her life. Funeral services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Delaware Hospice, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, DE 19963, delawarehospice.org; or to an animal rescue group of your choice.

Arrangements are being handled by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

Please visit Alice's Life Memorial webpage and sign her online guestbook at www.parsellfuneralhomes.com.