Deborah Eagan Yorde, a teacher for two decades at the Kenyon Craft Center, died on June 25, 2014, at Ebeid Hospice Residence in Sylvania, Ohio. Prior to her recent illness with renal cancer, she had been in the process of moving from Knox County to the Toledo area.
Deborah, a renowned weaver and instructor in weaving, owned and operated Craftsman Hill Handwovens, first in Mount Vernon and later from her home studio. On Craftsman Hill’s website, she stated, “I live in the country in central Ohio, which to my mind is a well-kept secret. It’s quiet and unassuming and slightly off the beaten path. It’s an unlikely choice for a city girl from Chicago, but it provides a peaceful place to create.”
Deborah, who grew up in Oak Lawn, Illinois, once wrote that she became interested in knitting and weaving as an eight-year-old. At Iowa State University, she delved further into fabric arts and graduated with a degree in applied art. She then spent three years perfecting her weaving skills at a school in Denver.
Prior to moving to Ohio with her husband, Richard E. Yorde Jr. ’71, Deborah had a successful career in business and manufacturing management in Chicago. In Knox County, she became a founder and active participant in Kudos, an artists’ cooperative in downtown Mount Vernon, opened Craftsman Hill, and began teaching at the Craft Center.
“Those of us who knew Deb are crushed at her passing, having just gotten the news of her grave illness,” said Robin Nordmoe, a customer service and sales associate at the Kenyon Bookstore and a pottery instructor at the Craft Center. “It is never a good time to say goodbye to such a dear soul, but her passing was just way too swift.
“I had the pleasure of knowing Deb as a co-artist/teacher in the Craft Center since 2007. When I arrived as an instructor, she made me feel so welcome. She was an exemplary model of how to teach, mentor, and love the students we have the honor to serve.”
“When I began teaching at the Craft Center, Deb also welcomed me and made me feel at home,” recalled Liz Keeney, who teaches cooking at the Craft Center. “She was always willing to answer questions and give me advice. Her love for the students and for the arts she taught was infectious. She will be sadly missed.”
Professor of Biology Kathryn Edwards counts herself lucky to have been one of Deborah’s students. “Deb was foremost an active artist, known for her color combinations and intricate patterns,” Edwards said. “She punctuated her weaving classes at Kenyon with trips to exhibits and juried shows with her scarves, shawls, and wall hangings. She loved the earth, the richness of farmland, the mysteriousness of forests, and the metamorphosing of sky and water.
“Deb was smart and earthy, generous and gentle, a spirit sharing her love of creating from fiber a community bond,” Edwards said. “She was a person who enriched your life. Her spirit lies in every woven piece I have made.”
Deborah is survived by her husband; her mother, Barbara Eagan of Oak Lawn; her stepson, Freeman M. Yorde ’96; and a step-granddaughter, Greta Yorde.
A Grail funeral is planned for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 1, at the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, 501 Conant St., Maumee, Ohio. Following the service, a reception will be held at the Anderson Family Complex, 1833 South Holland Sylvania Rd., Maumee. Interment will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.