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About Us


Our History


Bailey Walsh-Nussbaum Funeral Directors, have a long history and have been serving the families of Ottawa for generations. It all began with the Keilman Undertaking Company in 1909. Pictured at the left is Nicholas T. Keilman and William F. Bailey in 1915.

In 1912, William F Bailey and Nicholas T. Keilman became partners. Mr. Bailey bought the business in 1915 and in 1929 built a home with living quarters establishing The Bailey Funeral Home.

Edward J. Walsh and William J. Bailey owned and operated the Bailey Walsh Funeral Home until Bill died in 1963, located on the corner of Clinton & Jefferson, Ottawa, Illinois   

In 1965 Edward J. Walsh opened the Ottawa Funeral Home at 1111 LaSalle St. Retaining the name of Bailey-Walsh Funeral Directors.

Ed was the first person in LaSalles County to become an Emergency Medical Technician qualifying though American Physcians & Surgeons Association of Chicago in 1972. At that time we had a local Ambulance Service

In the summer of 2013 a state of the art cremator is installed in Ottawa Funeral Home. It is the first and only crematory installed in a funeral home in LaSalle County. 

Edward J. Walsh, 90, Ed was born May 21, 1919 in Chicago, Illinois to Thomas Edward and Della (Garrity) Walsh. He attended St. Ita's and St. Gregory parochial schools in Chicago. He graduated from Loyola Academy in Chicago and Worsham College of Mortuary Science, attended Loyola University, De Paul University. In 1940 he became a licensed Funeral Director. He enlisted in the in the United States Navy December 8, 1941 the day after Pearl Harbor. He was a pharmacist's mate in the Naval Medical Corps. He served in the South Pacific attached to the 3rd Marine Division, 71st Construction Battallion, and Floating Dry Dock ABSD5 with the Medical Corp. He rose to the rank of Chief Pharmacist Mate prior to discharge in 1945. He married Geraldine Breit, December 23, 1942 at St. Nicholas Church in Evanston, Illinois. In 1950 Ed became Co-owner of the Walsh and Wood Funeral Home in Miami Beach, Florida. From 1952 - 1972 he was the Vice President of North Counties Hydro-Electric Company in Dayton, Illinois. He purchased the Bailey Funeral Home,in Ottawa, in 1957 which subsequently became the Bailey-Walsh Funeral Home and then built the Ottawa Funeral Home in 1965, retaining the name of Bailey-Walsh Funeral Directors. Mr. Walsh was the first person in LaSalle County to become an Emergency Medical Technician qualifying through the American Physicians and Surgeons Association of Chicago. Mr. Walsh is a member of St. Columba Church in Ottawa, The Equestrian Order of The Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the American Legion, a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ottawa Elks Club, Knights of Columbus and the 4th degree, Kiwanis's Club, A charter member and former President of the Ambassadors Club of The Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa, Past member St Joseph's Church and El Conquistador Country Club in Bradenton, FL.; two daughters, Karen (Nelson) Nussbaum, Melinda (James) Bobco; two sons, Frederic Breit "Rick" Walsh, Brian Keeley Walsh.; three grandchildren, JB (Katie) Nussbaum, McKinley (Ken Chiang) Nussbaum , James Robert Bobco Jr; six great-grandson, Gavin, Charlotte, Kennedy and Quinn Nussbaum. He is preceded by his parents; one son, Edward Joseph "Skipper" Walsh Jr.; three sisters, Virginia Cawley, and Sister Mary Bethany OP Sinsinawa.

Edna Geraldine "Gerre" Breit Walsh, next to her husband. Gerre was born October 15, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois to Fred and Edna (Keeley) Breit. She married Edward Walsh on December 23, 1942 in Evanston, Illinois; she and her husband owned and operated the Bailey-Walsh Funeral Home now the Ottawa Funeral Home for over 30 years. She was a member of St. Columba Church, Catholic Daughters of America, The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, PEO Chapter EH, Life Member of National Education Association. She belonged to the Manatee Chapter of American Association of University Women and El Conquistador Country Club. She was also a notary public in the state of Florida and a Florida real estate associate from 1976 - 1986. Gerre was a graduate of St. Mary's Academy Notre Dame in IN, National College of Education in Wilmette, IL, and did her post-graduate studies at Northern Illinois University and Illinois State University. She was a Red Cross Safety Instructor at Ottawa High School in the 1950's and conducted a pre-school swim class at Blackhawk Beach and at Da De Co in Dayton in the late 1950's and 1960's. She was a primary teacher and taught at Crow Island School in Winnetka, Leland Grade School in Leland, and Shabbona School in Ottawa. She has four children, Karen (Nelson) Nussbaum, Melinda (James) Bobco of St. Clair Shores, MI, Frederic Breit "Rick" Walsh, and Brian Keeley Walsh; Three grandchildren, JB (Katie) Nussbaum, McKinley Nussbaum and Ken Chiang, and James Robert Bobco Jr; six great-grandchildren, Gavin, Charlotte, Kennedy and Quinn Nussbaum; and Chloe and Julia Chiang; She is preceded in death by her husband Edward J. Walsh; one son, Edward Joseph "Skipper" Walsh Jr.; one brother, Frederick Breit; and two sisters, Bette O'Keefe and Virginia Cisco. 


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