Thomas Walsh Biography

Thomas W. (Tom) Walsh
Newburyport, Massachusetts
German Linguist
   1957-1959

My Army time began, as was the fashion at the time, by having become less than contented with continuing University work after nearly 2 years and signing up to be drafted.  After the preliminary testing I was told that there were opportunities waiting if I would give up only one more year of my life and allowing myself to be feted by the Army Security Agency.  I gave the Army the extra year, and it turned out to have been one of my better decisions.

Six weeks in Fort Dix where I was introduced to the M1 Garand, my all-time favored 30-06 rifle, went by quickly and I was then off for a few weeks leave.  Fort Devens (now an industrial park) where I was tested again and again and again and finally told that I would attend the Army Language School in Monterey, CA.  We all traveled from Bedford Field in Massachusetts in C-47s (DC-3s) to Monterey in a mere 22 hours.  I enjoyed the 6 months in Monterey learning the German language, but because I was but 19 years at the time was not allowed to legally drink alcohol.  Shortly after graduation from ALS (sometimes referred to as Army School for Spies), Christmas of 1956 was spent at home. Then off to Gutleut Kaserne (where we became intimate with the still coal fired Bundesbahn) in Frankfurt, one of Germany’s marvelous cities where I would nearly 2 decades later live for three years.  After working for a while in the I.G. Farben Building it was off to Berlin.  Interesting tidbit; my office manager years later in Germany was married to the son of one of the laundry workers at Gutleut.

The two years spent in Berlin is where the extra year of duty really paid off.  I learned to appreciate both Jazz and classical music, read some great books, traveled throughout western Europe often alone, but sometimes with others.  On one trip Bart Fenmore, I and another bloke whose name I no longer remember visited the Brussels World Fair.  Trips to Switzerland, Scandinavia and England along with ski trips to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Berchtesgaden accompanied the tour in Berlin nicely.

After my return to the US, I quickly rediscovered an early love and we were married in the summer of 1959.  I was working as a lab technician at General Electric Silicones at the time and started back to night school.  Three kids later, school needed to be postponed again while I built a house for my family.  Finally in 1969 I received my degree in chemistry and life was really underway.  I left GE in 1972 and accepted a position at Chomerics, a small company in Massachusetts.  In 1974 I was transferred to Irvine, CA and we lived in Huntington Beach.  In the meantime two more kids showed up.  In 1976 I became our European Sales manager and we set up an office in Sachsenhausen, over the river from Frankfurt.  After nearly 10 years dormant, my German came back very quickly and after a number of embarrassing mistakes, I was able to run business meetings in German.  One situation remains vivid on the frontal lobes.  I was in Sweden at Telewerket, the Swedish telephone company, conducting a short seminar on Chomerics’ membrane keyboards, my Swedish Agent somehow thought I was German and so introduced me in German.  I was conducting the seminar in German and spotted one of the Swedish Engineers translating my talk for a comrade.  I asked at this point if it would go better if we conducted the meeting in English.  A loud sigh was heard in the room and we all laughed when I told them I was American.  The language school had done a marvelous job of firmly implanting the German language in my head.

In 1981 the 7 Walshes returned to the USA where we still live in Newburyport, MA.  In 1983 I left Chomerics and started my own business, appli-tec, inc, a manufacturer and packager of adhesives and related materials.  After a few years of real struggle the business grew to be able to support the founder and his family and was subsequently sold in 1999 to three employees.  Appli-tec is presently wholly owned by our middle boy, Tim.

After retirement began in 2001 I learned to fly and purchased a Cessna 182 and using the plane my bride and I have traveled through the United States including Alaska.  Having become a bit long in the tooth, I recently sold the Cessna and purchased a motorized glider, Pipistrel Sinus.  Our youngest daughter lives in Prague and we have traveled to Europe often.  River trips have been made from Venice on the Po, from Potsdam to Prague on the Elbe, from Gothenburg to Stockholm on the Goeta Canal and this year we will be traveling from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Danube, Main and Rhine.

And I have, as advised by Harold Geneen earlier of ITT, kept this under one page.


Ich hab so Heimweh nach dem Kurfuerstendam
Ich hab so Sehnsuch nach meinem Berlin!
Tom Walsh

BI 195 000 000