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Loretta Walsh, RN, MSN, M.Ed, who served Mission and McAllen as a nurse for over 54 years, passed away Thursday, October 13 evening at Mission Regional Medical Center.

She worked in Mission Hospital for 35 years as a surgical nurse, and in orthopedics, medical/surgical pediatrics, and emergency care. When the Mission Hospital was built in 1951 she oversaw setting up and equipping the surgical suite. She worked at the McAllen Independent School District as staff nurse for special education students, where she was instrumental in providing a safe, nurturing environment in which students with special medical needs could thrive and remain productively engaged with learning.

In 2006, Walsh was named Professional of the Year in health care for special education students by Cambridge Who’s Who. Being included in Who’s Who is an honor in its own right, but Professional of the Year is a distinction conferred on only one person in each category nationwide, based on their high level of professional accomplishment, academic achievement, leadership and service.

Walsh received a master’s degree in education supervision from The University of Texas-Pan American, a diploma in nursing from St. Joseph’s Hospital, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Louis University.

She was a member of the American Nurses association, Texas Classroom Teachers Association, and the National Association of School Nurses.  In 1997 she received the Good Samaritan Award from the City of Mission.

When asked what made her happiest, her ready response was, “I am happy when I am serving others.”

She most loved working with children. Her indefatigable commitment to service was informed by deep spiritual faith. She worked with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, collecting items for indigent families and disabled children. She was coordinator for Eucharistic Ministries at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Mission, where for many years she both served as Eucharistic minister and trained others in the practice. She was born on December 8, 1931, on a feast day of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She had a lifelong devotion to the rosary.  Loretta was loved and respected by all who knew her.

She came from a large family of eight siblings. She is survived by her brother, Edgar Walsh, Sr.; her sister, Mrs. Robert Pate; and a great many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held Sunday, Oct. 16, 5-9 p.m. at Ric Brown Funeral Home in Mission. A rosary will be recited at 7 p.m.  The funeral mass will be held Monday, Oct. 17, at 10 a.m. at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Mission.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Sisters of Saint Joseph, 1711 W. Gastel Circle, Mission, Texas 78572; the new Catholic high school, Juan Diego Academy, PO Box 3888, Mission, Texas, 78573; or the charity of one’s choice.

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