UPDATE: Horace Walsh passed away Thursday, August 29, 2013 at age 93. Services held September 3 at Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, 515 Harley Lester Lane, Apopka. Visitation: 1:30-2:30 p.m.. Funeral: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Military Honors: 4:00-4:15 p.m. at Deltona Memorial Gardens, 1295 Saxon Blvd., Orange City.
More information is available at the Deltona Memorial Funeral Home web site.
by Gladys Neigel
What great accomplishments would propel a person to the cover of Florida Focus? Can you tell the measure of the man from a photograph? Let me introduce you to Horace Edward Walsh.
As a young man, Horace had two interests that might have guided his career track: Baseball—In his early teens, he spent several days as an official bat boy for the Washington Senators baseball team during spring training in Orlando. Music—Horace worked with a vocal instructor in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to train his Irish tenor voice. In order to accompany himself, he studied piano. Later, he was privileged to attend The Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1939, Horace enrolled at Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University) in Takoma Park, Maryland. After a few months as a student in pre-medical studies, he felt the call of the gospel ministry and changed his major to theology.
Following graduation, he was assigned as a singing evangelist for an evangelistic campaign in Salisbury, Maryland. Horace willingly accepted the duties assigned him except when the sermon was on hell, and Evangelist Dan Harris wanted him to dress in a devil suit, stand on a corner, and pass out fliers.
Horace’s first pastorate was in Wilmington, Delaware. One of the young people, Elizabeth Sterndale, remembers him playing volleyball and starting a camera club for them.
Later, two firsts came into Horace’s life: he was the first to receive a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and the first Adventist minister chosen to become a military chaplain.
“Congratulations, Horace, on your retirement after nearly 67 years of ministry,” wrote Gary Councell, Director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. “You are the first to receive Ecclesiastical Endorsement from the [Seventh-day Adventist] denomination as a chaplain. Since your visionary and courageous step, more than 200 men and women have followed your example and legacy.”
After the military, Horace became Chaplain at Loma Linda Hospital (now Loma Linda University Medical Center) in California and taught Bible classes for 10 years at Loma Linda College of Medical Evangelists. His inventive nature soon had him presenting a daily devotional program, Silver Linings, that was piped into each patient’s hospital room.
Horace went on to pastor in Rochester, New York; Miami Temple Church, Miami, Florida; and Forest Lake Church in Apopka, Florida, before his first attempt at retirement in 1983. He continued to preach in various churches for two years before returning to Miami Temple Church where he helped plant the Kendall Church in Miami. He then pastored churches in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and DeLand, Florida, before his 17 year pastorate began at Florida Living Church, Apopka, Florida.
As an example of this beloved pastor’s influence over the years, several people who attended a June 10, 2012, retirement celebration shared their stories. Dr. Ted Furnish, a Urologist from Spokane, Washington, told how his choice to not carry a gun while in the Army in Germany had upset his superiors. A fellow soldier whose mother was an Adventist told him to “go see that Adventist Chaplain” to get him out of the mess.
Furnish, who wasn’t a church member, attended the Adventist service and spoke to Chaplain Walsh. Soon, he was taking Bible studies, and even before his baptism, Horace had him teaching the Sabbath School lesson. Dr. Furnish’s comment, “Thanks so much for the introduction,” was a testimony of his gratitude to Horace for bringing him into the Church.
At age 92, with 67 years of service, Horace Walsh closes his ministry as senior pastor of a congregation and stands tall among the denomination’s elder statesmen. To recognize this milestone, members gathered on June 10 to honor their highly respected friend and celebrate with him in thankfulness for his many years of service for the Master.
Rejoicing with them were Horace’s daughter, Bronwyn and her husband, Bob; and grandchildren, Bobby and Sam. Horace’s son, Bryan and his wife, Callie, could not attend.
Horace’s first wife, Pat, passed away in 1977 and his second wife, Aimee, passed away shortly after they came to Florida Living Church.