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PROFILE: HILDA (WALSH) CURRAN
Thursday, September 27, 1979



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PIX #1 - Hilda (Walsh) Curran

PIX #2 - The Currans admire antiques from their refinished rolltop desk

The subject for today's Profile is a woman who grew up in Fostoria, and, according to accepted standards, has had a successful career in her chosen field of Social Work.

Only a few close friends in Fostoria are aware of what has occupied Hilda's time since she left her home. It's time for an expose of the girl who was popular during her school years here and went on to complete her education and pursue her career...plus raising a family.

EDUCATION

Hilda graduated in 1928 from Fostoria High School, where she took a college prep course and participated in debate, dramitics, chorus and was on the Red and Black staff. Her alias was "Irish" because of her height her ancestors were jokingly said to be giraffes; she liked to eat; disliked dogs, her ambition was to be a swimmer like Gertrude Ederle.

She entered and received her BA degree at the University of Alabama. Immediately thereafter she entered New York School of Social Work (now part of Columbia University) on a scholarship, where she earned a graduate degree, majoring in psychiatric social work, with a minor in community organization.

She married James Curran in 1935. During World War II he was in the Air Force, and it was then that she returned to Fostoria with their four young children to live until the war ended. It was during that time she served as case supervisor for relief programs under WPA, FERA in Seneca County.

After her husband came out of the service he settled down to the practice of medicine in Dayton. Hilda and the children joined him there, she becoming associated part time as a therapist in private practice.

IN DAYTON AREA

In 1962, Hilda was employed jointly with the State Department of Mental Health and the Dayton Community Welfare Counsel to prepare that part of Ohio's Mental Health Plan for the eight counties served by the Dayton State Hospital.

When that job was completed, Hilda became associate director of a five county Community Action Agency for Office of Economic Opportunity. When that program became more of an employment rather than a social services agency, she resigned and was appointed mental health director for Clark County's "648" Board, which developed all the mental health services for that county.

All during the '60s Hilda acted as a consultant to communities in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan that wanted to develop mental health centers.

OHIO EDUCATION BOARD

In 1960, Governor DiSalle appointed Hilda to the state board of education. In 1962 she was nominated by the Democratic party as one of the five Montgomery County representatives.

Hilda's husband retired from practice in 1969, and they moved to Kalamazoo, where he setup the geriatric program at the state hospital there.

Then in 1974, Dr. Curran retired the second time, for good, and they settled on 40-acres of woodland and marsh at Hastings, MI.

Although the retirement for Dr. Curran is permanent, except for hobbies, for Hilda there is still a small private practice involving adult andd dolescent problems.

CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES

The Curran's four children have of course grown on their own, and seemingly have taken some pages from mom's career book.

Hilda Patricia got her degree from Hiram, here in Ohio. William "Bill" Noble, a Fostoria boy who went to Fostoria High with (mother) Hilda, was her daughter's philosophy of religion professor there. She went on to get a graduate degree in social work at Ohio State. At present she is Michigan's first director of the Office of Women at Work in the Department of Labor at Lansing.

Judith Elinore played a large part in developing alternative educational opportunities for secondary schools in Dayton and is a counselor at one of the high schools there. Her undergraduate degree was from University of Alabama, and her masters degree in guidance and counselling is from Michigan State University.

James Patrick Jr. graduated from Ohio State and his graduate degree is from Wayne State in social work. He is director of program development for Wayne County, MI.

Bridget Anne Stover, James' twin, received her undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Michigan. She is associate professor of social work at Western Michigan University.

FAMILY BACKGROUND

Older Fostorians will remember that Hilda's father, John Walsh, was the police chief here for many years, and his brother Timothy was fire chief. Her mother was Jessie Ash, who worked in the local Nickel Plate Railroad office from 1918 until the middle 1950's.

The name "Walsh" is undeniably Irish, but Hilda gave me a further look at her ancestry. Her father's mother Bridget Angland, came to America from Ballyduan, County Cork, Ireland, in the 1880's. She headed for Fostoria where a cousin named Quinn lived. Aboard ship she met Redmond Walsh from County Wexford, Ireland. They fell in love, and instead of going to Boston according to plan, he also came to Fostoria and they married and settled here. Redmond Walsh was with the Nickel Plate Glass Co. until it went out of business, and then he became a railroader.

The Quinn cousin, mentioned above is the one who had a bakery in Fostoria in the location of the Smoke House now. The building, built by Quinn, carries his name, still legible. The baker's son, John Quinn became a renounced lawyer and art collector in New York. He is buried in St. Wendelin Cemetery.

Hilda Curran's mother's parents, Franklin and Mary Doty, came from Oil City, PA., around 1890 when oil was discovered in Seneca County. Doty was an independent oil driller who brought in many of the producing wells in this area.

Hilda and her husband James have traveled extensively, having been to Europe, the Greek Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Exuador, Panama Canal and the Carribean Islands.

Last year they spent two weeks in Ireland, visting relatives of Hilda's paternal grandmother.

The Curran's are nature lovers, birdwatchers, antique collectors and geneologists, which combined with family life, especially grandchildren, keeps them busy.

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