HANNIBAL | Joan Walsh had no problem selecting the 2020 recipient of the annual Tom N. Walsh Memorial Scholarship that she awards in memory of her late husband.
Her husband was a career musician as a drummer, and Jacob Bross, the scholarship winner, is also an experienced drummer who has performed with several bands while completing high school.
“He played on the (Mark Twain) Riverboat, at a college music hall and Bluff City Theater,” Joan Walsh said, adding Bross also taught private drum lessons in addition to winning awards with the Hannibal High School band.
She said although Bross specializes in percussion, he plays several additional instruments.
Bross plans to continue his music education at the University of Memphis, where he will study instrumental music education, Walsh said. “His ultimate career goal is to teach music at a college.”
Walsh established the $1,000 annual scholarship for a HHS senior after her husband died on March 17, 2010, as an ALS patient.
“Tom was a lifelong distance runner and music lover,” she said. “He ran successfully in high school and college and ran two miles every day until his ALS made it impossible for him to do that.”
Tom Walsh was a HHS graduate. Both he and his wife were graduates of the currently-named Truman University in Kirksville, Mo.
“He started teaching at Eugene Field School,” Joan Walsh said. “He ended up professionally playing drums.” and continued until ALS stopped him.
“The scholarship goes to a musician or a long distance runner,” she added. “He was passionate about music, particular drumming.”
After Tom's death she sold his drum sets and received also donations toward the scholarship, which she began awarding in 2011.
Her goal is “to honor Tim's memory by assisting qualified students who share some of his interests.” Winners have included girls and boys, she said, “both long distance runners and drummers.”