Creating Alaska

Michael J. Walsh

Name: Michael J. Walsh

City: Nome

District: 9

Occupation: Miner

Born: April 8, 1882 - Cork, Ireland

Death: April 1, 1963 - Nome, Alaska

Burial Location: Belmont Point Cemetary, Nome Alaska

Alaska Resident: 1905 - 63

Convention Posts:

  • Member, Committee on Suffrage, Election and Apportionment
  • Member, Committee on Rules

Education: Public Schools

Public Offices and Organizations:

  • Clerk, City of Nome - 1931-44
  • Territorial House of Representatives - 1945-47
  • Member, Territorial Board of Education - 1934-42
  • Member, University of Alaska Board of Regents - 1943-59
  • Member, Alaska Statehood Committee - 1958-59

Honors Received:

  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Alaska - 1958
  • Walsh Hall on the UAF Campus named for him in 1959

Links: University of Alaska Biography

Quote from the Constitutional Convention:

"...I certainly would be in favor of this amendment because the University of Alaska has a Board of Regents appointed by the governor and confirmed by both houses of the legislature and they in turn select the administrative officer which is the President of the University. I don't believe that a man so selected by that board should be subject to the approval of the governor, so I checked up with a couple of the attorneys here and we find that the University of Alaska would not be subject to, the appointive officer of the board of regents would not be subject to the approval of the governor because the University of Alaska is a corporation and its Board of Regents is the Board of Directors so to speak..."

-Delegate Michael J. Walsh, Day 55 of the Constitutional Convention, stating his support for an amendment to the constitution establishing the University of Alaska as a "body corporate," exempting the head of the university (the president) from gubernatorial approval. Members of the Board of Regents, who hire the president, are appointed by the governor and subject to legislative confirmation.

Mike J. Walsh Passes Away at 79

M. J. Walsh, affectionately known to his friends all over Alaska as Mike Walsh, who has been hospitalized here for some time, passes away this morning.

Mr. Walsh was born in Cork County, Ireland, on April 8, 1883 and came to America at the age of 20 and Alaska in 1906.

He knew this part of Alaska very well having had a mail route to the Kougarok and the many mining camps of the early days. He took the mail route on foot many times. Like all pioneers, he mined several parts of the peninsula gaining a wealth of knowledge as to the mining potential. He had a keen memory and knew just about where everybody mined and because of his knowledge, integrity and honesty was appointed to represent many corporations whose revenues were derived from the royalties from their mining property. He represented them at clean-ups all over this part of the state.

Mr. Walsh was city clerk of Nome from 1930 to 1943; served as member of the Territorial legislature in 1945; he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and served for 15 years as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska as well as on the Territorial Board of Education.

He was very active in the Pioneers of Alaska and was Grand President in 1945.

His wife, Louise, was the first white girl on the beach at Nome in 1899 at the height of the gold boon. They had four sons and six daughters, Mary, is dead.

There are 39 grandchildren.

The survivors, in addition to Walsh’s widow and grandchildren, include sons Pearse, Joseph and Daniel of Nome and James of Ketchikan; and daughters Eileen Taylor, Las Cruse, N.M.; Ann Walsh, a Fairbanks school teacher; Norene Wills, Palo Alto, Calif.; and Patricia Holbrook, North Hollywood, Calif.

Source: Nome Nugget – April 1, 1963