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UM staff mourns 'valued colleague'

University College employee murdered Saturday; son charged

By Chelsea Boozer
On April 24, 2012

  • Elaine Walsh

Several administrators, faculty, staff and students are mourning the death of The University of Memphis employee who was allegedly murdered by her son Saturday.

Elaine Walsh, a 55-year-old business officer at the University College, was cut on her face and head several times by her 22-year-old son, William Walsh, at their East Memphis home early Saturday morning, according to a police affidavit.

Though her title was business manager, University College Dean Dan Lattimore said she was much more an administrative assistant and relied upon at the College. He awarded her with special recognition for services to the department at an awards banquet last year.

"She ran the University College office, she wrote scripts, worked with faculty and staff, and kept me on task as dean," Lattimore said. "Her organizational skills and enthusiastic personality were exceptional. We will all miss her dearly."

U of M President Shirley Raines sent an email Sunday morning to all faculty and staff telling them counselors would be sent to the College on Monday morning.

"Those of us who knew and worked with Elaine know what a warm, giving person she was, and how dedicated she was to our students, faculty and staff," Raines wrote. "She is already missed and mourned by many of us."

Raines said the death of a "valued colleague is always hard, but such a tragic loss is even more difficult to understand."  The loss of Walsh has been difficult on University College staff, according to Lattimore who said Elaine was one of the "most outstanding employees" he'd ever worked with.  Elaine was a member of the Staff Senate in 2006.

"When I interviewed Elaine for the job more than eight years ago," Lattimore said, "I found out she had been Mason Granger's executive assistant. I knew she would be excellent, and she was. Mason Granger was the top anchor in Memphis WMC-TV for many years."

Elaine's son, William, was arrested by Memphis police on a first-degree murder charge and remains in jail without bond. After an initial appearance in court on Monday, he awaits a court date set for May 14.

Elaine's husband, John Walsh, told homicide squad officers that at about 1 a.m. Saturday he went to bed and Elaine stayed awake to speak with William for a few more minutes about noise he was making in the home. John said that around 5:30 or 6 a.m., William came into John's bedroom and said he had done "something terrible" and had "killed someone."

Police say John went into the living room with his son and found Elaine dead on the sofa with multiple lacerations to her head and face.

Raines issued a statement Saturday regarding the death.

"The University extends its sympathy to the family, friends and co-workers of Elaine Walsh. She was a valued employee for eight years. We are deeply saddened by this tragedy," Raines said.


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