Emma Shiloh, 82, welder, administrator at factory

February 10, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Emma A. Shiloh, who worked as a welder in a Baltimore shipyard during World War II and later became an administrator at Locke Insulators Inc., died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at her Baltimore Highlands residence. She was 82.

Mrs. Shiloh, who was twice widowed, retired from Locke in 1982. She had begun her career in the South Baltimore plant as a factory worker in 1947.

A longtime Baltimore Highlands resident, the former Emma Barefoot was born and raised in Johnston County, N.C., the daughter of a cotton and tobacco farmer.

"As a young girl, she picked cotton and helped raise tobacco on her father's farm while hoping someday to become a nurse," said her son, Julius W. Eldridge of Roland Park. She left school in the seventh grade to help her family on the farm, her son said, adding: "It was a tough life."

In the Great Depression, the family lost its farm. In 1933, at age 16, she married Julius S. Eldridge, a farmer in Dillon, N.C. As the Depression worsened, the couple lost their farm.

Hearing of employment opportunities, they boarded a train for Baltimore with their young children. "It was the eve of World War II, and Baltimore represented opportunity," said the son.

Both got jobs as welders at Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., where they helped build Liberty ships for the war effort.

A resourceful and tenacious person, Mrs. Shiloh, an accomplished seamstress, also sewed clothes for her family.

"She was determined to keep her family together, which meant scrapping through the Depression and war years. Times were really tough for us," Mr. Eldridge said.

Her first husband died in 1966. She was married in 1973 to Pete Shiloh, a Koppers Co. machinist who died in 1995.

Deeply religious, Mrs. Shiloh read the Bible regularly and was an active member for many years at Christ United Methodist Church in Baltimore Highlands, where she enjoyed cooking for the Wednesday Retirees Club.

She remained positive despite the adversity of her earlier years, and often talked of the hardships of the Depression and war years with her grandchildren, family members said.

In addition to her sewing, she enjoyed crocheting, reading and attending concerts at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Christ United Methodist Church, 2833 Florida Ave.

In addition to her son, she is survived by two daughters, Agnes McNellis of Wayne, Pa., and Janice Uhlig of Severna Park; two stepdaughters, Ellen Polcak of Baltimore and Bonnie Holman of Pasadena; 13 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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