Mason Walsh Jr. died peacefully in his home in Ligonier, Pa., on Sept. 22, just shy of his 80th birthday.

He was born in State College, Pa., on Oct. 23, 1935. He graduated with honors from Penn State in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. In 1960, he received his law degree from Harvard University. Mason began his career as a trust and estate lawyer in Pittsburgh with Reed Smith. From 1967 to 1971, he worked for T. Mellon & Sons in Pittsburgh, an investment firm created to handle the Mellon family’s financial, philanthropic, and civic interests. The firm became Richard K. Mellon & Sons in 1971, whereupon Mason assumed his position of executive vice president and general counsel, a capacity he served for over 30 years until his retirement in 2001.

Mason Walsh was a civic leader in his community, as well as nationally, and particularly proud of his accomplishments in the field of land conservation. He served as Chairman of the board of The Nature Conservancy as well as vice chairman of the American Farmland Trust. His community activities also included service on the executive committee of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, as a trustee of the Valley School of Ligonier, on the board of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, and as a member of Penn State’s National Development Council. He also served for many years as a governor of Rolling Rock Club, Laurel Valley Golf Club, and recently with the Lighthouse Center for the Arts and as president of the homeowners association at the Loxahatchee Club. Over the years, Mason has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, notably the Gulf Oil Conservation Award and the National Park Foundation’s Historic Preservation Medal.

Mason is survived by his loving wife Gil Walsh; his two children Connie Walsh and Richard Walsh, his daughter in law Lindsay Walsh, and son in law Christopher Young and five grandchildren Duncan, Bayard, and Theo Walsh and Aksel and Neva Young. He is also survived by his brother, Bruce Walsh.

In addition to his love of family, Mason truly cherished his many dogs. Some of his happiest moments were spent in the woods with old friends and hunting dogs close by his side.

A service to celebrate his life was held Sept. 29 at St. Michael’s Church in Ligonier with the Rev. Dr. James B. Simons officiating. Interment followed in the St. Michael’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, 800 Waterfront Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 or the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, 14200 U.S. Highway 1, Juno Beach, FL 33408.

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Arrangements are under the care of The J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel Inc.