Sheila F. (Hendricks) Walsh

Honored by:Donna Loewen
Brick location:G:4  map

Born March 20, 1947, daughter of Doloras and William Hendricks, in Dubuque, Iowa.

Married her partner-for-life, John Walsh on November 24, 1966. Mother of three daughters, Kelly (born May 7, 1968), Kim (born June 11, 1970), and Krista (born January 23, 1973).

Since 1992, Sheila has served as dedicated support staff to the Alumni and College Relations Office at Loras College, in Dubuque, Iowa. From 1987-92 she was a valuable member of the Career Planning and Placement Center at Loras. Prior to that, she worked at the Dubuque Archdiocesan Center for two years, and at one time was employed at Brown Publishing.

The above details about our heroine's life only begin to tell her story. What follows are reflections on other aspects of Sheila's life by six women who hold her in highest esteem.

It is a tremendous joy for me to honor my mother in the Plaza of Heroines. There is no other woman for whom I have more respect. Her contributions to her family and her community are many. Throughout my life, she instilled in me by her own example integrity, a strong faith, and a true devotion to family. Her love for others is truly unconditional. Her sensitivity and sincerity allow her both to empathize with others and delight in their joys. She is a strong woman who continually gives of herself and puts others needs before her own.

All her life she has actively participated in her church and community, encouraging her three daughters to do the same. Sheila is admired and respected by many. She is a role model for all women through her ability to balance her commitments to family, work, church and community. I love her and am most thankful to have such a heroine as my mother.

There are a great number of reasons why my mother is an outstanding woman. I believe the quality that sets her apart from others is she truly loves unconditionally. There are several things I learned from my mom about love. I learned that love often involves putting other people's needs before my own.

True love means loving people for who they are not what you would like them to be. It is impossible for love to be exclusive for love can cross borders, break down barriers, and make differences seem insignificant. I learned that everyone deserves to be loved even those who appear to be unlovable. Mom taught me that love extends beyond family and friends. To truly love means to make a difference. While all of this has made an impact on my life and how I love, the most important thing my mother taught me about love is that no matter what mistakes I make or weaknesses I have, I will always be loved.

My mother has helped me develop as a person. When my two sisters and I were younger my parents stressed to each of us to try many different activities to find out what our interests and abilities are. Because they gave us this freedom to find our true selves we are all different while still having the same values and morals.

Unlike many people my age, I really enjoy spending time with my mother. She really understands, me and has always been there for me, offering her support. I know I can go home or call if I am feeling down. I am amazed at how she does everything. She guides me in finding solutions to my problems.

I always feel better after telling her my troubles and sharing with her my thoughts and ideas. I think my sisters and I obtained a respect for all people, a good sense of our own spirituality, and a concern for world affairs from the example our parents set for us. I know she would do anything for me, and I would do anything for her. I couldn't dream of having a better mother.

Faith-filled, kind, calming and insightful are just a few words that describe Sheila. These words explain how Sheila approaches all areas of life both with her family and coworkers. As a person who works in a college setting Sheila serves as an excellent role model to young women. Her discussions with them on topics such as family and religion challenge their thinking and how they will approach life. As a friend and coworker Sheila demonstrates her great capacity to care through her positive interaction and attentiveness to individuals.

As a woman she has supported and encouraged other women such as her daughters, friends and students to achieve their goals and overcome challenges through faith and support from others.

Sheila is a treasure. She has had a strong positive influence upon me since we met in the fall of 1990. I will never forget how Sheila made the transition to my first professional position a smooth one. The times I spend with Sheila are filled with friendship, encouragement, support and laughter! Even though we no longer work together directly, we have remained close.

It is not just my life, however, that has been touched by this excellent role model. Sheila constantly works for the good of the community, church, college and especially for her family and friends. She is a balanced person in a world of imbalance, I admire and look up to Sheila as someone I would like to mirror in my own personal, work and spiritual life. I think the best description of my feeling for Sheila comes from a poem, by Grace Powell. It is entitled Thank You, My Friend.

I never came to you, my friend and went away without a new enrichment of the heart, more of faith and less of doubt, more courage for the days ahead, and often in great need, coming to you I went away comforted, indeed. How can I find the sharing words the glowing phase that tells all that your love has meant to me, all that your friendship spells? There is no word, no phase for you, on whom I depend, all that I can say is this God bless you, precious friend.”
Thank you, Sheila, for continuing to be an inspiration to me, and many other women.

Sheila is a faithful friend, respectful of differences, and accepting of human flaws. Wherever she goes, it is as if she carries a welcome sign, indicating her willingness to listen, to help, to gently nurture others. Sheila performs countless good works and constantly affirms the goodness in others, all in a manner which does not call attention to herself. She acts in a principled fashion, always with the courage of her convictions. Sheila is aware of her many gifts and shares them generously. Confident in her womanhood, Sheila has always been a step ahead of tradition in forging new paths and modeling continuous growth for her daughters and coworkers.

Sheila is a woman who is admired and emulated for her qualities and achievements; in other words, a heroine.

Submitted on 3/16/95