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Dying wish granted

Company builds driveway, wall to honor Bill Walsh

June 26, 2007 | Old Colony Memorial
By Emily Wilcox, CNC Newspapers

 

Lynne DePaolo stands on her brand new lawn, flanking the stone wall and gravel driveway Emerald Excavating built and landscaped for free in honor of her late husband, Bill Walsh, who was an Emerald employee.

Lynne DePaolo stands on her brand new lawn, flanking the stone wall and gravel driveway Emerald Excavating built and landscaped for free in honor of her late husband, Bill Walsh, who was an Emerald employee.
Photo by Emily Wilcox

PLYMOUTH - The sneakers are just where he left them, at the foot of the chair near the ottoman. His face smiles from pictures that line the walls of Lynne DePaolo’s Manomet home. He had laughing blue eyes, an expansive grin and the kind of manners you don’t find very often in this day and age.

“He took time to hold doors, shake hands and always asked about you and your family,” DePaolo said. “He never asked for anything. He was the type of person who put everyone’s needs before his own.”

Bill Walsh had one request before he died. He wanted a driveway to replace the dust bowl outside the back window of their home; he wanted it for Lynne. But money was tight and they never got around to it.

He worked for Emerald Excavating. Then Emerald Excavating worked for him.

Members of the family-owned company, who had supported Walsh through his ordeal with cancer, arrived at DePaolo’s home, Saturday, May 19, and worked all day. But they didn’t just install the gravel driveway Walsh wanted. Emerald Excavating built a stonewall and planted grass in the back yard. DePaolo never received a bill; she never will. The job was done for free, in honor of a guy so many adored.

“They did this in remembrance of Bill, as well as an act of generosity,” DePaolo said.

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She was very nearly speechless, standing in her now beautiful back yard, where more than $5,000 worth of work was completed.

It’s been nine months since DePaolo said good-bye to the love of her life. Her friends and family have been helping her plow through the many stages of grief. Anger is one of those stages, but maybe gratitude is, too. The kindness of Walsh’s co-workers and employer at Emerald Excavating make her feel like she’s not alone in missing him, like maybe he’s still with her.

It’s a beautiful, sunny summer day and DePaolo’s car is parked in an actual driveway, sitting atop a gorgeous stonewall. Her home is complete now. Everything is neat as a pin, airy and clean. But Bill Walsh’s sneakers are staying exactly where he left them.

“I can’t bring myself to move them,” she said.