YOUNGSTOWN – Elaine M. Welsh, 89, passed away peacefully at St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital in the early morning hours of Friday, May 13, 2022, after a courageous battle with chronic illness.
Elaine was born on June 9, 1932, in Youngstown, the youngest child of Thomas Leo and Jane “Jennie” Coyne Casey, founding members of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church on the west side of town.
A 1950 graduate of Ursuline High School, she was a member of the National Honor Society and the Glee Club and served as co-editor of the student newspaper. During her years at Youngstown State University, she served as an officer of the Alpha Pi Epsilon sorority, assistant supervisor at the university’s testing center, and editor of the Newman club newspaper.
Under his editorship, the club’s newspaper, which served Catholic students, rivaled the Jambar, the official campus newspaper, in popularity.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1954, she became advertising manager for the JC Penney Co. department store in downtown Youngstown, where she coordinated advertising for a three-store combine. In addition to preparing layouts, copy and brochures, Elaine also wrote radio commercials and scripts for television and local fashion shows.
In 1958, she was one of the few women to serve as an advertising copywriter at the Cleveland-based advertising agency Fuller, Smith & Ross. Despite being advised by a senior executive to “go home and have babies,” Elaine has contributed to accounts for major corporations including American Greetings, Fostoria Glass and Westinghouse.
After returning to Youngstown, Elaine completed her graduate studies in elementary and secondary education at YSU and taught English at St. Brendan’s Elementary School and Ursuline Secondary School. During this period, she was engaged to local educator, Thomas “Jerry” G. Welsh Sr., whom she married on June 25, 1960.
Elaine then took a position in the promotions and public relations department of WKBN, where she remained until her oldest child was born in 1961. For the next decade, Elaine supported her growing family, which included four children in 1966 .
An active participant in the pre-Cana movement in the Diocese of Youngstown, she helped engaged couples prepare for marriage. In 1964, Elaine and her husband, Jerry, co-edited the program’s monthly newsletter.
Elaine resumed her professional career when she accepted a part-time position with United Appeal in the early 1970s. In 1975, she became director of communications for the Tri-County Area American Heart Association (AHA).
During her nearly 30 year tenure at the AHA, Elaine has developed and promoted new community outreach programs. Memorable events included ‘Celebrity Waiters’, where prominent citizens solicited donations from local diners and ‘Eedible Art’, where local restaurateurs competed to produce award-winning, heart-healthy menus in the atrium from the Butler Institute of American Art.
A generous and supportive mentor to women entering the field of communications, Elaine’s own contributions were recognized nationally in 1996, when she received the AHA’s Nate Hanson Award.
Upon retirement, Elaine shared her communication skills with organizations such as the West Side Coalition and St. Patrick’s Church in Youngstown. Her resilience, kindness, empathy, open-mindedness and desire to help others have won her many friends over the years. Firmly rooted in her religious faith, Elaine also had an innate understanding of the complexity of life.
She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas G. Welsh Sr.; his older sister, Jayne Casey; his brother, Leo Casey (Patricia); and his youngest daughter, Susan E. Welsh.
She is survived by her two sons, Thomas (Barbie DeLucia) of Youngstown and Robert (Sapna Krishnasetty) of Westerville; his daughter, Jeannette (Anthony Dudzik) of Columbus; his grandchildren, Dhillon, Kareena and Devan Welsh and Rachel Dudzik; and several nieces and nephews.
Family and friends can call from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2022 at the Kinnick Funeral Home, 477 N. Meridian Road, Youngstown and from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., followed by a Christian burial mass which will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2022 at St. Patrick’s Church, 1410 Oak Hill Ave., Youngstown.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Beatitude House or Dorothy Day House.
Please visit kinnickfuneralhome.com to view and share this obituary and to send your condolences to Elaine’s family.