YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Elaine M. Welsh, 89, passed away peacefully at Mercy Health-St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital in the early morning hours of Friday, May 13, after a brave struggle with a chronic illness.    

Elaine was born on June 9, 1932, in Youngstown, the youngest child of Thomas Leo and Jane “Jennie” Coyne Casey, charter members of St. Brendan Catholic Church on the city’s west side.    

A 1950 graduate of Ursuline High School, she was a member of National Honor Society and Glee Club and served as co-editor of the student newspaper. During her years at Youngstown State University, she was an officer of Alpha Pi Epsilon service sorority, an assistant supervisor at the university’s testing center and editor of the Newman Club newspaper. Under her editorial leadership, the club’s newspaper, which served Catholic students, rivaled the popularity of the Jambar, the campus’s official newspaper.

Upon graduating with a B.A. in English in 1954, she became advertising manager for J.C. Penney Company 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 a copywriter at the Cleveland-based advertising agency, Fuller, Smith & Ross. Despite being advised by one senior executive to “go home and make babies,” Elaine contributed to accounts for major firms, including American Greetings, Fostoria Glass and Westinghouse.

After returning to Youngstown, Elaine completed her post-graduate studies in elementary and secondary education at YSU and taught English at St. Brendan’s Elementary School and Ursuline High 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 at WKBN’s promotions and public relations department, where she remained until the birth of her eldest child in 1961. For the next decade, Elaine nurtured her growing family, which included four children by 1966. 

An active participant in the Diocese of Youngstown’s Pre-Cana movement, 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 the United Appeal in the early 1970s. In 1975, she became Communications Director of the Tri-County Area American Heart Association (AHA). During her almost 30-year tenure at the AHA, Elaine developed and promoted novel community outreach programs. Memorable events included “Celebrity Waiters,” where prominent citizens solicited donations from local diner and “Edible Art,” where local restaurateurs competed to produce award-winning, heart-healthy menus in the atrium of the Butler Institute of American Art. A generous and supportive mentor to women entering the field of communications, Elaine’s own contributions were nationally recognized in 1996, when she received the AHA’s Nate Hanson Award.

Upon retiring, Elaine shared her communications skills with organizations such as the West Side Coalition and St. Patrick Church (Youngstown). Her resilience, kindness, empathy, open-mindedness and desire to help others won her many friends over the years. Firmly rooted in her religious faith, Elaine also possessed an innate understanding of life’s complexity.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas G. Welsh, Sr.; her older sister, Jayne Casey; her brother, Leo Casey (Patricia) and her youngest daughter, Susan E. Welsh. 

She is survived by her two sons, Thomas (Barbie DeLucia) of Youngstown and Robert (Sapna Krishnasetty) of Westerville, Ohio; her daughter, Jeannette (Anthony Dudzik) of Columbus; her grandchildren, Dhillon, Kareena and Devan Welsh and Rachel Dudzik and many nieces and nephews. 

Family and friends may call from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Friday, May 20 at Kinnick Funeral Home, 477 N. Meridian Road, Youngstown and Saturday, May 21 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 1410 Oak Hill Avenue, Youngstown. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at the church on Saturday, May 21 at 1:00 p.m.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Beatitude House or Dorothy Day House. 

A television tribute will air Monday, May 16 at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. on WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.