At 94, Ellen Wallace is still painting


At 94 years old, Ellen Sautter Wallace of Northwood is busy preparing today for the first exhibit of her
Forty to 50 of her paintings will be on display Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wood County District
Public Library in Bowling Green.
She also might be working on her most recent painting during the exhibit, but mostly she will be
dispensing her belief that people of all ages should remain active in whatever they enjoy doing.
Wallace practices what she preaches, according to Barb Farley, office manager of Senior Helpers, based in
Waterville. Farley got to know Wallace through her job and quickly became a big fan of hers for not
giving up on living a full life, even at age 94.
"Ellen’s always got to be working on something," she said.
And while Wallace has been painting for at least 50 years, she became a much more active painter after
she lost her hearing and could no longer play the piano and organ.
"I thank God for this gift because I can’t hear the music, and this has almost taken its
place," she said by e-mail which helps her compensate for her hearing loss.
Among her numerous careers, Wallace played both instruments, performing on early live broadcasts on WPOS.
She also recalls with pride playing the organ at a citywide Toledo revival back in the 1950s.
On top of her musical accomplishments, Wallace’s resume ranges from being a kindergarten teacher and
teaching in the early days of Head Start, to operating a flower shop that evolved into a bakery.
Add to that her role as mother to five children and eight stepchildren, plus eight grandchildren and nine
"No wonder I’m tired," she said after reviewing all of her jobs and family activities.
But that hasn’t slowed down her ambition to paint. Wallace is currently "working on a picture my
youngest daughter likes."
She often "paints whatever photos people send her to paint," Farley stated.
Having done about 90 paintings over the years, Wallace admits, "My best paintings are at my kids’
houses." Some of those pictures will be on display at the library, but they won’t be for sale.
Wallace will have some of her other paintings for sale at the exhibit. Farley planned to help today in
making the final selections of which paintings to display.
The exhibit came about at the suggestion of the Wood County Committee on Aging, and Wallace agreed to it
in large part so she can inspire other senior citizens to make the most of their abilities.
She encourages others, "Don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can do."

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