Theresa Melson Walsh took a few of her favorite things with her to her grave in Lackawanna's Holy Cross Cemetery Nov. 9.
Buried with the 76-year-old Buffalo native were her beige telephone, which she kept at her bedside in her Lackawanna apartment; a biography of singer Julio Iglesias called "My Life" and a tape of him singing "Crazy" and a Nov. 8 edition of The Buffalo News.
"She loved The Buffalo News," said one of her daughters, Karen Swenson of West Branch, Iowa. "She called in birthdays for the Reporters' Notebook column so often that the telephone operators got to know her voice."
Mrs. Walsh, an Avon representative and a former newspaper reporter, died Nov. 5, 1998, in her apartment after suffering a massive heart attack. Although she had been in ill health, off and on, for more than eight years, she lived alone and maintained her own household.
When she was a little girl, she lived in Long Beach, Calif., where her father, the late Franklin Melson, built movie sets for silent films produced by Max Sennet. Melson, who was a manager for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and later for O'Toole's Catholic Stores for many years, helped his young daughter to get into pictures. She appeared at the age of 5 in the silent movie "The Lady in the Pink Limousine."
But her Hollywood career was cut short when her family moved back to Buffalo's Old First Ward. They later moved to Alden, where she graduated from high school in 1938. During World War II, she worked at the Harrison Radiator and Chevrolet plants, which were producing products for the war effort.
It was then that she became enthralled with newspapers. She read and clipped articles from The Buffalo Evening News to send to her brothers stationed overseas. It was during the war that she met and married a Marine Corps corporal, John J. Walsh, who died in 1990.
After the war, they settled on the East Side, where she worked as a reporter and sales agent for community newspapers circulated in the Lovejoy and Walden-Bailey areas. She became an Avon representative in the late 1970s when she moved back to the Lackawanna-South Buffalo area.
She remained an Avon lady until her death, becoming well-known for her friendly greetings, including, "Your mom raised a good kid!"
After the death of her husband, who was a boilermaker, she also enjoyed traveling.
In addition to Mrs. Swenson, survivors include two other daughters, Katherine M. Walsh of North Canton, Ohio, and Kathleen McCormick of North Tonawanda; a son, Kevin of Cheektowaga; two sisters, Margaret Giambrone of Hamburg and Sophie Maziarz of Lackawanna; two brothers, Franklin Melson of Niagara Falls and Raymond Melson of Sebastian, Fla.; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.