For Chrysandra Walter, it was a very long, courageous battle with cancer that eventually took her life last week at the age of 63.
Sandy, as she was known, was the wife of one of Ireland’s finest fiddle players, the Killaloe, Co. Clare native Seamus Connolly. She was an invaluable partner to him and his work, establishing and administering the Gaelic Roots program of Irish music and dance at Boston College.
In her professional life, the California native was a high-ranking official in the U.S. National Park Service, rising to the rank of northeast deputy regional director after an extended period as the superintendent of the Lowell National Historic Park. She, along with Joe Wilson of the NCTA, hosted the National Folk Festival there, where the event still happens annually after 25 years thanks to the work she put in during her tenure.
Sandy’s organizational skills were a valuable asset while Connolly ran the very respected and successful Gaelic Roots Summer School on the Chestnut Hill campus of Boston College from 1996 to 2003, and the smaller concert series that followed since then.
We wish to extend our sincere condolences to Seamus Connolly on the loss of his life partner, and a thank you for the wonderful work she did in helping to promote our traditional Irish heritage.
She was remembered fondly in memorial services in Lowell, Massachusetts last Friday and Saturday by family and friends.