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Walsh, firefighter Michael Kennedy killed last week

BOSTON — Boston Fire Lt. Ed Walsh was remembered as a devoted father, husband and firefighter Wednesday as thousands gathered to say goodbye one week after he was killed in a Beacon Street brownstone blaze.

Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy, of Engine 33 and Ladder 15, were killed in a nine-alarm fire that broke out March 26 at 298 Beacon St.

View photos from funeral and wake | Video: Casket brought into church

A funeral Mass for Walsh was held Wednesday at St. Patrick Parish in Watertown, the parish he grew up attending.

Walsh, 43, and his wife of 10 years, Kristen, had three children — Dillon, Morgan and Griffin — all younger than 10. He was with the department for more than nine years.

Hundreds of bagpipers led the procession to the Watertown church as thousands of firefighters from all over the country stood shoulder-to-shoulder, and in some places 20 deep, along the street and saluted. His casket was carried to the church by Boston’s Engine 33.

“Eddie lived more in 43 years than many of us will do in 80. He was destined to do great things and he did. So Eddie, just as you have always had my back, Kristen’s back, and all of your friends’ and family’s backs, I make a commitment to stand up and follow in your footsteps and try to be even half the person you were,” his sister Kathy Malone said.

Mayor Marty Walsh, no relation, and Boston Fire Fighters Local 718 President Rich Paris each paid tribute to Walsh during the service, describing him as a leader, a friend and a brother.

“As a brave and experienced firefighter, Ed Walsh was a rock supporting all of our lives, whether we knew it or not. Every day he went to work, he’d put himself on the line for us. That’s why so many people are here, and why all of Boston is stopping to pay respect to Ed Walsh today,” Walsh said. “We need to thank him and his family for this lifetime of service to our community. And we need to learn from him.”

“(The) Boylston Street (firehouse) was Eddie’s second home. Eddie loved being a firefighter and he loved the men at Engine 33 and Ladder 15. The city of Boston was lucky to have him and he will be missed. He was a born leader who did not regard himself as a hero,” Paris said.

Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley delivered the final commendation.

Irish tenor Ronan Tynan’s renditions of “Danny Boy” and “Irish Farewell” concluded the church service.

Walsh will be buried next to his father, a Watertown firefighter, at St. Patrick’s Cemetery.

In a display of solidarity with their Boston brethren, firefighters representing all 50 states and several Canadian provinces attended the services.

“They would do it for us, and we’re going to do it for them,” said Pete Cortez, of the Houston Fire Department. “It’s another brother fireman. You know, it doesn’t matter if it’s in Boston, New York, Austin. Doesn’t matter, you know. One goes down, we feel it across the whole community — the firefighter community, that is.”

“I’ve been on the department in Lynn for 37 years, seen a lot, you know, and we’re all brothers and we always will be,” said Don White, of the Lynn Fire Department.

A few hours after Walsh’s funeral, thousands will gather again for Kennedy’s wake a few miles away in West Roxbury.

Kennedy, 33, was single, a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters and a veteran of the Marine Corps. He was with the department for more than six years.

Visitation for Kennedy was set for Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at P. E. Murray/George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home in West Roxbury. His funeral will be held at Holy Name in West Roxbury on Thursday at 11 a.m.

A fund has been set up in their memory. Donations can be made to:

Lt. Walsh/Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund
c/o Boston Firefighter’s Credit Union
60 Hallet St.
Boston, MA 02124

Donations can also be made online on the Boston Firefighters Credit Union website.

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