Jerome Walsh was born on April 10, 1932, to Leonard and Margaret Walsh in Durand, Illinois, 100 miles northwest of Chicago. After two years at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, he made his first profession in the Dominican Order on August 31, 1952, receiving the religious name of Matthias. He attended the College of St. Thomas Aquinas in River Forest, Illinois from 1952-53 and 1954-55, receiving a B.A. in philosophy. After three years of theological studies at the Studium of St. Rose of Lima in Dubuque he was ordained to the priesthood on May 24, 1958.
From 1959-76, Fr. Walsh worked in various Dominican ministries in Nigeria, West Africa. He was Vicar General of the Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria, and pastor for parishes including St. Vincent Ferrer in Malumfashi and Our Lady of Fatima in Gusau. In the 1970s he was Lecturer at the Dominican Seminary of Sts. Peter & Paul in Ibadan, Nigeria. He was instrumental in the early years of the Dominican province now existing in Nigeria, serving as Vocation Director and Novice Master.
When he returned to the United States in 1976, Fr. Walsh preached parish missions for several years in the Midwest and worked in campus ministry. He then returned overseas, working for several years in Papua New Guinea in ministries sponsored by the Australian Dominican Province. In his concluding years of service, he was Vocation Director and Novice Master for his Province as well as the Director of the Dominican Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus and Vicar for Mission Advancement.
Fr. Walsh was assigned in 2005 to limited service, residing at Blessed Sacrament Priory in Madison, Wisconsin, where he lived for eight years before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Fr. Walsh died on November 3, 2013 after several months in hospice care in Madison. The Mass of Christian Burial was held at Blessed Sacrament Church on November 7, 2013. He was buried in Madison at the Resurrection Cemetery in the Dominican plot.
Fr. Walsh is survived by his brother Jim and sister-in-law Barb Walsh, of Beloit, Wisconsin, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.