Eileen Joyce Wolford

July 12, 1938 ‒ March 15, 2021

Mansfield, Ohio

MANSFIELD: In what she called “wet belly” photography, Eileen Wolford did not show what was already visible. Rather, she gave a glimpse – really an experience – into something that otherwise would never have been. On her stomach, in complete natural light – never moving a leaf for a better shot – she photographed Ohio wildflowers in a splendor that enlarged and beautified.  She helped preserve moments, architecture and personalities that would have been forgotten.  She captured – in images – which words cannot describe. Eileen Wolford was an artist with a lens.

Eileen passed away Monday morning March 15, 2021 from OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital. She was 82.

Born July 12, 1938 on the family farm in northern Richland County to parents Willment W. and Laura L. (Doty) Wolford, she was graduated from Savannah High School in 1956.

After attending Oberlin College, she accepted a position as a secretary in the advertising department at Ohio Seamless Tube in Shelby. She was promoted at “The Tuby” to executive secretary to Reid Pittenger, VP of the Ohio Seamless Tube Division of Copperweld before taking a position in the Human Resources department as manager of Public Relations. In this post Eileen photographed new hires as well as retirees. It was this necessity of photography that sparked a lifelong love of the camera lens.

While at The Tuby, she served as editor of “Tuby Talk” – a monthly tabloid publication featuring news of plant modernization and improvements as well as news on employees, promotions, new hires, and retirees. In all, Eileen’s 38 year-career culminated in her retirement in 1990.

Eileen began photographing work-related subjects and personnel with a Speed Graphic 4X5 camera. She would have an assignment to take a picture of plant equipment with a two-exposure film pack, and quickly taught herself the basics on the job.

Soon a love of photography became a hobby with her own 35mm camera, taking close-ups of wildflowers, trees, farm buildings and landscapes.

Her skills improved through help from other local photographers to learn darkroom operations. Eileen’s fine art enlargements established her standing as a serious professional.

Eileen and her late husband Julian W. Barnard collaborated on a photographic record of Baltimore & Ohio System right-of-way structures and rolling stock, including other subjects of interest to historians and scale model builders. This work includes thousands of her photos. Eileen’s work in this endeavor has become renowned with train historians, and is now in the collection of the B&O Historical Society. Their collaborative publication in 1980 is in the library of Congress as well as numerous university libraries.

In the early 1960s Eileen joined the Mansfield Fine Arts Guild which would become the Mansfield Art Center (MAC). She served on the MAC board of directors, as board president in the 1990s, and then as a lifetime director. She was instrumental in establishing the MAC satellite operation: Art Works on Main Gallery – a storefront gallery just north of Fourth Street downtown Mansfield.

A strong supporter of all fine arts, Eileen enjoyed attending The Cleveland Orchestra concerts as a season ticket holder for many years. Music moved her soul. The beginning chords in Severance Hall were played especially for her. For Eileen, the arts were to be felt – to be experienced. And she regularly visited the Cleveland Art Museum as a Family Member.

Eileen and her husband Bill Marsh frequently traveled across the country on AMTRAK, including a loop across Canada on VIA Rail to Vancouver with a return on AMTRAK’s northern route beginning and ending in Cleveland. The couple’s Europe tour from Rome to Florence, to Venice, to Paris and Brussels was also via the rails.

Eileen is survived by her husband William “Bill” Marsh, whom she married December 5, 1992; daughter Laura Barnard and her husband Blake Womack of Pittsburgh, PA; grandson Jasper Womack; step children Lisa Marsh of Louisville, KY, Robert (Susanna) Marsh of Lexington, KY, and Julia Hebner of Henrico, VA; step grandchildren Megan Melrose, Kelsey Melrose, Jason Noel, Jennifer Noel; brother Charles (Laura) Wolford of Mansfield; brothers-in-law J. Paul Snyder of Bellville and E.C. Marsh of Daytona Beach, FL; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by a step son Julian W. “Mook” Barnard, III; and her sister Shontell Snyder.

The Marion Avenue Snyder Funeral Home is serving Eileen’s family with compassionate cremation service. Though no public services will be held, the family hopes that Eileen’s memory will be held dear in your heart the next time you experience fine art or hear orchestral music. Art enhances life.

To perpetuate her memory, contributions are suggested to Mansfield Art Center or The Cleveland Orchestra. Made payable directly to either arts organization, contributions may be mailed to Snyder Funeral Home, 350 Marion Ave 44903.

Snyder Funeral Home is honored to serve Eileen’s family. Share a message of support with them online at: SnyderFuneralHomes.com

 

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  • Bill, as your neighbors for many many years, we were very saddened at the loss of Eileen. She had such a knack for making your backyard beautiful which we also enjoyed every spring and summer just watching it change under her watchful eye. She always had a kind word for our grandkids and she will be missed by them as well as us. We are here if you need us in your time of need.

  • I’m so glad I got a chance to know Eileen thru our get togethers over the last 20 plus years. I will miss her wit and charm, her sense of humor and her soft laughter . I’m sorry for my friend Bills loss and her family’s loss.

  • News of Eileen’s accident reached me last week end, and I quickly got a note off to her, never dreaming her condition was so serious. It seems impossible her cheerful laughter is silenced. We art enthusiests we were small, but intense in our love of art, and each other as serious artists. We learned so much from our friendship. I loved Eileen.

  • Bill….Jane and I are deeply saddened by your sudden loss. In a world oft void of reminders of natural beauty, grace, humor, and concern for others, we are somewhat less. God’s speed during this difficult time.
    …Gary McKean

  • Eileen, my wife Tracy and I have known mostly from her and Bill’s participation in our film club…
    always looked forward to our meetings when we met at their home…lovely home lovely hosts…

    We are fortunate to have one of Eileen’s close up nature photographs ‘Ancient Ginkgo’ (I just found the title on the back) …I knew it was an old tree of some kind…

  • Sorry to hear of Eileens passing, we started out to school together in the 1st grade at Adario school, then I came to Mansfield schools then in 9th grade I went back to Savannah high ,Ohio and we finishes school together in 1956. we were next door neighbors. Rip.Eileen. from classmate, Louise Snyder, Hockensmith

  • We were glad to have know Eileen, she will be missed by many . She always had a friendly smile and word when we saw her.

  • Bill, Laura, Blake, and Jasper – my broken heart breaks again at the news of Eileen’s death. She was the best of us, smart, funny, kind, incredibly insightful and thoughtful. She was the most amazing mom, allowing her own open mind to encourage Laura and all of the rest of us to really see the world around us, to read everything, to approach the world asking questions, to see perspectives other than our own immediate ones, to find compassion when encountering wrongheadedness, to be kind above all things. Eileen did her art the hard way, with integrity and sensitivity and unfailing great taste. She was a deep thinker always. I have learned so much from her, admired her, and treasured her friendship. I will never forget her.

  • I am sad to hear about Eileen passing away. As a teen in the early 1980’s, I occasionally “babysat” her brilliant daughter, Laura and also house-sat on occasion.
    Eileen was always so kind and thoughtful and also very generous.
    My heart goes out to the family.

  • Eileen was an artist I admired and a friend I enjoyed knowing. I’m so sorry for your loss, Bill. Please take some comfort from her influence on so many people. My deepest condolences. 🦋

  • Eileen was an amazing woman. I’m in awe reading all her accomplishments. My sincere sympathy goes out to you Laura and your family and to all of Eileen’s family and friends.