Aug. 16, 1953 — Dec. 2, 2012

Eileen Marie Walch, 59, of Albany died Sunday, Dec. 2.

She grew up in Detroit, Mich., one of 12 children born to Louis and Mary (Shaw) Walch. A common theme throughout Eileen’s life was art. She started drawing at age 12 and continued developing her artistic talent while at Cooley High School, Cass Technical High School and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.

In 1973, Eileen took the train west to join a sister who had relocated to Oregon. Falling in love with the beauty of the state and her newfound freedom, she put down roots and thereafter lived in Corvallis, Philomath and Albany. Eileen relocated to San Francisco briefly to study fine art at the prestigious California College of Arts. Over the years, she created several timeless drawings including a pen and ink of an old Cadillac, created with fine crosshatching, on which the detail and accuracy are amazing. Pursuing art mainly as a personal endeavor, her artistic and detailed nature came through in various jobs that she held over the years including as a baker in a local bakery, matting and framing pictures in a frame shop and repairing damaged books at the public library.

A deep thinker, Eileen was not afraid to tackle serious subjects or delve into difficult issues with family and friends. A genuine person, she said what was on her mind even if it made people uncomfortable. In contrast to her more serious side, Eileen laughed often. She did not like being the center of attention but was a great audience for other people’s stories of crazy, real-life absurdities. She enjoyed the company of family and good friends, shared meals, microbrews, group walks and rowdy games of cards or Scrabble.

Eileen was a very compassionate person, as she showed when she took on the lion’s share of care for her elderly mother, Mary. She saw Mary nearly every day during her last year of life and had an uncanny ability to know what she needed and then deliver on it. She also cared very much about animals including her beloved cat, Ginger. Eileen and Ginger would relax to the music of Dianna Krall’s “Live in Paris” and try on Mary’s beret for fun. Besides art, music and animals, she also enjoyed being outside, reading, gardening and movies.

Eileen is survived by siblings Kim Walch and wife Linda Jackson, Mary Lou Tumas and husband Edward, Julie Walch-Michnowicz and husband Victor, Dan Walch and wife Darlene, Rose Abercrombie, Mary Agnes Walch, Carrie Tasman and husband Michael, Therese Walch and husband Doug Brooke, Peggy Walch, Matthew Walch and wife Pam, and Tom Walch and wife Jeanne; and eighteen nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Scott Zimbrick Memorial Fire Station 5, Walnut Community Room, 4950 N.W. Fair Oaks Drive (off of Walnut Boulevard), in Corvallis. Memorial contributions may be made to Safe Haven Humane Society at 33071 Oregon Highway 34 S.E., Albany, OR 97322.

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