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Judge, WWII veteran, dies at 91

December 22, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

Those who worked with and knew former local state Supreme Court Justice Carroll S. Walsh Jr. - who died Monday of heart failure at his home in Sarasota, Fla. - remembered him as a professional jurist and gentleman.

Walsh, 91, also was known nationally for liberating Holocaust victims from a Nazi train.

He spent most of his life in Johnstown. From 1978 until his retirement in 1990, Walsh served as a state Supreme Court justice in the 4th Judicial District in Johnstown. His portrait hangs behind the bench inside the main room of the historic Fulton County Courthouse.

Article Photos

Carrol Walsh talks to a history class at Hudson Falls High School in Hudson Falls, Washington County, on Sept. 13, 2007. The World War II combat veteran, whose account of liberating Holocaust victims from a Nazi train led to reunions with the survivors 60 years later, has died. He was 91.
The Associated Press

"He was a very dignified judge," Fulton County Clerk William Eschler said Friday. "He was one of the old-school [jurists]. He always treated people with dignity and was popular with his peers."

Eschler, who knew Walsh professionally when he served as deputy county clerk at the County Office Building, said the judge was active in his community as well. He said Walsh coached children's sports and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

"I had known him all my life," Fulton County Family Court Judge Edward F. Skoda said Friday of Walsh. "He was a very dedicated, hard-working judge who was wonderful to the litigants and attorneys."

Skoda, who as a lawyer prepared cases before Walsh, said he also knew Walsh's family - sons and fellow attorneys Terry and Thomas - very well. Thomas Walsh is currently the Johnstown City Court judge.

Skoda said he played basketball for Carroll Walsh's Catholic Youth Organization basketball team at the former St. Patrick's School in Johnstown.

Walsh was a member of the Johnstown High School Class of 1938. Following graduation, he continued his education at Notre Dame and St. Lawrence universities. Serving in the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945, he saw combat in the European Theater and was the recipient of five Battle Stars, a Purple Heart and a Battle Field Commission.

After graduating from Albany Law School in 1946, Walsh was a private practice attorney in Johnstown until 1968. During that time, he also held positions as city attorney, assistant City Court judge, and served as president of the Fulton County Bar Association.

In 1969, he began a nine-year tenure as Fulton County Court and Surrogate judge, presiding over criminal trials, reviewing appeals from city, town and village courts and having jurisdiction over cases.

During that time, Walsh often served as acting Supreme Court justice by assignment in the counties of Schenectady, Saratoga, Clinton, Warren, Essex, Montgomery and Fulton and as county judge by special assignment of the Appellate Division in the counties of Nassau, Rockland and Franklin.

He also was a member of the Criminal Procedure Law Advisory Board to the state Office of Court Administration. From 1978 until his retirement in 1990, he worked as a state Supreme Court justice in the 4th District, hearing cases outside the jurisdiction of lower trial courts.

Walsh was a former director of Community Chest, Johnstown Public Library, YMCA and the State Bank of Albany, and was a coach for Little League, Babe Ruth League and CYO.

Walsh and other American soldiers liberated 2,500 Jewish concentration camp prisoners from a Nazi train at the end of World War II. About a decade ago, his story was posted on a website his friend, Matthew Rozell, created for the history class he teaches at Hudson Falls High School. That led to a series of reunions involving veterans and train survivors in New York, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Walsh was born in Detroit. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Dorothy Walsh. His son Thomas lives in Johnstown.

A funeral service will be held in Johnstown at a date to be announced later, according to his obituary.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at The Associated Press contributed to this story.



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