Elieen Walton Smith
Eileen Walton Smith, 69, of Oreland, PA, died December 26, 2017, after living with ovarian cancer for over five years. She was born on January 18, 1947 in Paterson, NJ, the daughter of Alba Winterberg Walton and Robert M. Walton.
She attended Paterson public schools and graduated from Jersey Preparatory School in Paterson. She worked at the Paterson city welfare office while attending the Paterson campus of Seton Hall University, from which she graduated in 1972 as the valedictorian of the entire Seton Hall graduating class.
She was awarded in Fulbright scholarship to study English literature at the University of Leeds (UK), where she met her future husband, Tom. In 1974 she became the agency office editor for Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company in Newark, NJ. After marrying Tom in 1975, she was an editor the Publications Office at Princeton University and later headed the University Publications Office at Boston University.
In the early 1980s, Eileen became a freelance writer and editor in Athens, Georgia, and in Schuylkill and Montgomery counties, PA. She was a contributing writer for The FAQs of Life, The Name Book, and About the Author and published fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in Amazing Stories, Twilight Zone Magazine, The Cream City Review, The Herb Quarterly, and Arachne, among others. In the mid-1990s, she was one of the first to edit manuscripts electronically by email attachment, becoming an accomplished editor of college textbooks in political science, history, and humanities, as well as trade books on gardening and medicine, including the Merck Manual. In 2000, under the name “E. W. Smith,” she published a novel, The Secret Life (Ex Libris), a prequel to Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, which is available on Amazon.com.
She also taught writing and literature courses at Union County College, Arcadia University, and the Penn State Abington and Schuylkill campuses.
She was an avid gardener, first in community gardens in Westfield and Princeton, NJ, and later at home. She became proficient in growing vegetables from seed and propagating herbs from cuttings. She delighted in eating from her garden throughout the year. An accomplished cook and baker, she was deeply committed to organic food and the virtues of whole wheat flour.
Most of all, she was a dedicated reader. She was devoted to the New York Times and regularly completed its daily crossword puzzle, even Saturday’s. She devoured literary, detective, and historical fiction and loved to share books with friends. She could remember minor character and plot details from books she’d read years before. An incorrigible punster, she appreciated word play of all kinds.
After her mother’s death in 1996, she became a volunteer for the Springfield (Montgomery County PA) Free Library and an election poll worker in Ward 3-2 of Springfield Township. Through the Springfield Democratic Party, she made many friends, two of which, Betsy Smith and Lois Morasco, were very devoted to her in the last days.
She leaves her husband Tom, her brother Bob (Sandy) and nephew David, close friend Virginia Gross, sisters-in-law Cindy and Molly (Hank), nieces Heather, Kayla, and Cassie, nephew Dan, and grandnephew Darin. She was predeceased by grandniece Brooke.
A memorial service with be held this coming spring. Donations may be made to the Eileen Walton Smith Essay Prize Fund at any TD Bank branch or to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Office of Institutional Advancement, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497 (or via the Fox Chase website).