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Constance S. Walsh, active in educational, cultural efforts

July 29, 1944 – Sept. 12, 2016

Constance S. Walsh, active in many educational, charitable and cultural efforts, died Monday in her Buffalo home after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 72.

Born in Bronxville, one of five children, the former Constance Shepard grew up in St. Paul, Minn. She attended Summit School in St. Paul, Smith College, the University of Minnesota, Radcliffe College and the University at Buffalo.

She and her husband of 45 years, insurance agency executive John N. “Jack” Walsh III, met in Cambridge, Mass., where she was administrative assistant to the director of undergraduate admissions at Harvard University and he was a college dorm proctor and a student at Harvard Law School.

An accomplished skier, she also worked at the Alta Lodge in Alta, Utah; for Child and Family Services and the admissions office at Trinity College, both in Hartford, Conn.; and Design Research in Cambridge, Mass., before coming to Buffalo in 1973.

In Buffalo, Mrs. Walsh was a full-time teacher’s aide in classrooms at Nardin Montessori School.

She served as chairwoman of the board of the former Clarkson Center and was a trustee of the Elmwood Franklin School and the Patterson Charitable Trust. She was co-chair of the first Derby Day Auction in 1979 to benefit Nichols School. She also co-chaired the inaugural two Scholarship Galas at UB.

She was a volunteer reader to the blind and assisted major fundraising campaigns for Women and Children’s Hospital, the Darwin Martin House, the American Red Cross and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, including a benefit effort that brought Danny Kaye to Buffalo. She also was an angel donor to Buffalo’s Say Yes to Education.

“She had great modesty and concern for other people,” her husband said. “She was very much behind the scenes. She assisted in a lot of things without wanting any credit.”

As a girl, she enjoyed wilderness canoe trips to northern Minnesota, family ski trips to Colorado and vacations at the seashore in Madison, Conn.

An adept pond skater, she helped maintain her family’s backyard rink. She traveled widely, including a family bike trip in Ireland, and took part in a travel group, the Stratton Stragglers.

An avid reader, she belonged to a women’s book group and was a passionate social liberal.

In addition to her husband, survivors include a daughter, Kyle; a son, Blake; three sisters, Nan Shepard, Christy Shepard and Alison Shepard; and a brother, Blake Shepard.

A memorial service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in the Mary Seaton Room at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle.

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