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For four generations, members of the Walsh family contributed to the growth and prosperity of Auburn.

The first Walsh, James, settled here in 1853. Years later, his grandson Jack served as postmaster and was elected mayor. Lillian Walsh was well known as the city librarian. Jack and Lillian’s daughter, Marian Vade Walsh, was the fourth generation to make Auburn her home and her passion.

Born May 23, 1924, Marian was 25 when she purchased a 1951 Ford that she would have for the rest of her life. For decades, she drove her curvy coupe to twice-yearly Walsh celebrations at the family cottage in Carmel. A staunch Democrat and active member of St. Joseph Parish, she was considered a “true Auburnite” by those who knew her. She was instrumental in bringing the Main Street Program to downtown Auburn, and was known for her vibrant community spirit.

As the last Auburn Walsh with no heirs of her own, Marian wanted to establish a lasting memorial to her parents. She approached the Foundation about donating the family cottage in Carmel to benefit the community she loved. A year after the private Auburn Community Foundation became the public Placer Community Foundation in 2005, Marian died at age 81. Her bequest established The John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to graduates of Placer High School and Del Oro High School.

Today, Marian Walsh is remembered for her abundant generosity, love of community, and a legacy that will last even longer than her beloved ’51 Ford. The Walsh Family Scholarship Fund will help deserving students achieve their dreams for generations to come.

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