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Family man, founder of Ocean Properties, Tom Walsh passes at 88

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Thomas T. Walsh worked diligently and tirelessly over his 88 years starting as a salesman of linens to the hotel industry and over the decades building a privately-held company, Ocean Properties, which owns and operates more than 110 hotels and resorts in Canada and the United States.

Many of the resorts fall into the legendary category — The Sagamore on Lake George, the Lake Placid Lodge, the Samoset and West Street Hotel in Maine, and Wentworth by the Sea  — to name only a few.

Perhaps even more impressive is Mr. Walsh worked daily until the end of his life alongside his sons and family members who each play a role in operating various aspects of the company.

The presence of Ocean Properties, although founded in New England, is of particular importance to Sarasota, Longboat Key and Lido Key where it owns the Longboat Key Club, Zota Beach Resort, Lido Beach Resort, Holiday Inn Lido Beach as well as the Sandcastle.

And after a lifetime of passionate work where he stayed involved until his very final days, Thomas Timothy Walsh passed on October 6, 2018 with his family at his side.

In addition to his  work, Thomas was a loving husband, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, and founder of Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates.

Mr. Walsh was born on October 8, 1929 in Bangor, Maine to Frances “Paddy” and Beatrice (Elliott) Walsh. Tom’s father, Paddy, was born in County Laois, Ireland and in 1899 stowed away on a boat to Canada, eventually making his way to the United States. Over the years, the family remained close to and often visited their relatives in Ireland. The Emerald Isle held a special place in Tom’s heart and soul.

As a boy, Tom loved sports and was a good athlete. He graduated from Bangor High School, and worked with his father, Paddy, as traveling salesmen selling door-to-door. In the early 1960s they opened Bangor/Brewer Bedding Company on Wilson Street in Brewer and in 1969, Tom opened his first hotel in Brewer, Maine — the start of what would be a long and illustrious career in the hospitality business. From there he continued his passion to build hotels across North America — from Key West, Florida to Bar Harbor, Maine, from Montreal, Québec to Victoria, British Columbia and throughout the Southwest U.S. — creating what is now Ocean Properties Hotels Resorts & Affiliates. Today the portfolio includes over 110 hotels in North America and remains family owned and operated by his children. Ocean Properties was Tom’s lifeblood and he loved working with his family every day, building a company that valued long-term employees, and dear friends. He remained working in his office until his last days.

Tom had a tireless work ethic, an uncanny knack for business, and a unique creative insight and vision for the hospitality industry. He had a quick smile, a great laugh, and loved to kid around. He had a wonderfully charitable spirit, helping so many people over his long life in so many incredible ways. He cherished his time with family and friends and loved animals. Tom loved relaxing by the water with his wife Linda, and his dogs and cat in New Hampshire and Florida, or wherever their many travels took them.

Tom was preceded in death by his daughter Mary, his father, Paddy, his mother, Beatrice, and his brother Patrick and Patrick’s wife Marion.

He is survived by his wife Linda Walsh of Key West, Florida, and his children: Michael Walsh of Delray Beach, Florida, Mark and Rebecca Walsh of Gulfstream, Florida, Billy Walsh of Delray Beach, Florida, Joseph and Suzanne (Walsh) Lanigan of Gulfstream, Florida, Patrick and Karen Walsh of Rye, New Hampshire, and Thomas and Heidi (Walsh) Varley of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Tom also is survived by nine nieces and nephews, his 18 grandchildren: Michael, Jenna, Tricia, Michelle, Anna, Kathleen, Thomas, Caroline, Camden, Camron, John-Patrick, Sean, Emma, Erin, Erica, Neale, Tess, and Mitchel, as well as two great-grandchildren Tess and Enzo.

. A Funeral Mass was held Wednesday, October 10, at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church 531 North Main St., Brewer, followed by the Rite of Committal at Mt. Pleasant Catholic Cemetery, Bangor.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his memory to the Florida Keys SPCA Inc. animal shelter, 5230 College Rd., Key West FL. 33040 or The Mitchell Institute in Maine, 75 Washington Ave., Suite 2E, Portland, ME. 04101.

Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com.

To send flowers to the family of Thomas Walsh, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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