For more information about memorial services for Tim Walsh or to contact his daughter, Shannon McLaughlin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steamboat Springs A photographer, a carpenter, a private detective and a construction overseer. Tim Walsh worked in many professions and served many roles in his life, but in Routt County, he was known as sheriff.
Walsh, who served as Routt County sheriff from 1983 to 1990, died July 5 in Hawaii at age 62.
“He loved Steamboat,” Walsh’s daughter, Shannon McLaughlin said. “He always considered it his home” even after he moved away.
Walsh moved to Steamboat Springs with his mother and three siblings in 1972. He initially worked as a professional photographer but later switched his focus to law enforcement.
“He was kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” McLaughlin said. “He would take something and he would master it, and pour everything into it, and move on to something else. I think he was a really intelligent man who liked to know about and experience different things.”
McLaughlin said Walsh and his undersheriff, Ed Burch, made a good pair because they complemented each other’s strength. While Walsh was a big-concept thinker, Burch was more pragmatic, McLaughlin said.
“I think Ed was a really good foil,” she said.
Walsh also found controversy while in the office, and at the end of his tenure, he was charged with embezzlement for reportedly placing personal checks in the office’s contingency fund in exchange for cash. Shortly after he left office, he accepted a plea offer that led to a deferred judgment. He didn’t serve any jail time, but he also never got back on the ballot for re-election.
Although McLaughlin was young at the time, she said her dad characterized the dispute as a clash of personalities with prosecutors in the district attorney’s office.
She said her dad’s basic philosophy was that Steamboat and Routt County are small enough that people can help police one another. She said he was more likely to give warnings than to haul someone to jail.
After he was out of office, Walsh stayed in Steamboat for a few years and even worked as a bartender at the Overlook Hotel for a time.
He then moved to Hawaii, where he set up a private investigation business with a former Routt County deputy, to be “Magnum P.I.,” as McLaughlin said.
He remained in Hawaii doing carpentry and some quality inspections for construction companies until his death.
Walsh’s sister, Susie Walsh, said her brother was a stable center for a family after several family members died when the siblings were young.
“He was always my hero,” she said.
Susie Walsh said her brother also kept his sickness to himself, even as it progressed.
“He never went to the doctors, he didn’t believe in doctors really,” she said.
McLaughlin said the prognosis would have been the same no matter what; he had pancreatic cancer.
She said that he was someone who “went with the flow” even at the end, a mentality that fit in with his philosophy of life.
“I think he felt that when it came down to it, life was pretty simple, and be kind to one another and treat people with the respect you’d like to be treated with,” McLaughlin said.