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VGM’s Jim Walsh passes away 

VGM’s Jim Walsh passes away 

Jim WalshWATERLOO, Iowa – VGM Group has announced that Jim Walsh, its co-founder and chairman of its board of directors, passed away on Oct. 12. 

Walsh, who died of natural causes in his home surrounded by family, was 74. 

“Jim has been part of the heart and soul of VGM since its inception,” said CEO Mike Mallaro. “He has been central to the VGM family and a visionary leader. His impact—not only on our company, but on the entire industry—has been tremendous. Our members, vendors, employee owners, and customers will all feel his loss.” 

Walsh moved to the Cedar Valley in 1975, following his wife Linda, who was an associate professor of psychology at the University of Northern Iowa, and became a successful trial lawyer, as well as good friends and partners with Van G. Miller. Walsh and Miller, along with their friend, John Deery, founded VGM & Associates in 1986, following building plans that began as scribbles on a cocktail napkin. 

As VGM grew, Walsh continued to practice law at Clark Butler Walsh and Hamman Law Firm. He also became corporate counsel for the City of Waterloo, serving five mayors and 20 city councils. His “hobby” of renovating downtown Waterloo properties became JSA Development in 2001, now with more than 35 properties downtown. 

Ten years after his initial investment, Walsh became VGM’s corporate counsel, a director of all its companies, and a frequent resource and consultant to members of VGM-sponsored companies. He was also one of three co-trustees who served as the governing board for VGM’s employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Walsh retired from his role as corporate counsel at the end of 2021, but he remained board chairman and a trustee, with plans to retire from those roles at the end of 2023. 

In 2022, Walsh received the Van Miller Homecare Champion award from AAHomecare. This honor, named after his VGM co-founder, recognizes Walsh’s longstanding record of service in the home care community and his spirit of caring and generosity. 

Walsh’s community involvement included being a charter member of the Waterloo Development Corporation and serving on boards for the Healthcare Quality Association of Accreditation (HQAA), Waterloo Expo Services Corporation, Waterloo Telecom Partners, Cedar Valley Community Health Care, Waterloo Community Playhouse and Waterloo Community Foundation. He was also a Fellow of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers. 

Outside of VGM, Walsh was perhaps best known for being the founder of the Cedar Valley Irish Cultural Association, which sponsors the annual Iowa Irish Fest. Now in its 18th year, the Iowa Irish Fest is a premier cultural event that attracts nearly 50,000 visitors to Waterloo each August. 


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