Clint Ensworth at the throttle on his PA&W railroad in July 2010. (Photograph by Richard Jacobs)
Veteran Akron Railroad Club member Clinton B. F. Ensworth, Jr., 87, died November 4, 2010, at his home in Medina County. He died 10 days short of his 88th birthday.
Since joining the ARRC on May 23, 1968, Mr. Ensworth several times hosted club members at picnics and other outings at his home. He frequently invited club members out to ride on his Pittsburgh, Akron & Western 7.5-inch gauge railroad. Most recently, Mr. Ensworth invited ARRC members to attend his annual meet on the PA&W, held July 17-18, 2010.
The PA&W had about 4,000 feet of mainline railroad. Mr. Ensworth was an early participant in the live steam hobby in the United States and consequently was considered one of the elder statesmen of live steam here. The PA&W was built on the 113.5 acre farm to which he moved in 1960.
He started building the PA&W in 1967 and finished the far loop in 1982. Mr. Ensworth was a pioneer of point-to-point live steam layouts. Before that, most operators just laid a circle of track. He also was an early advocate of operating his railroad by rules and timetable.
Mr. Ensworth was one of 18 founding member of the Northeast Ohio Live Steamers, which formed in 1969. He was also a member of Tri-State Live Steamers in Michigan and the Cinder Sniffers in Cincinnati. He belonged to the British 7 1/4 inch Society and made numerous trips to the United Kingdom to visit live steam railroads there. Those trips gave him ideas for many of his operating practices, including adding weight to the bottoms of cars to make them more stable and less likely to derail with adults riding them.
Mr. Ensworth mentored several younger ARRC members, some of whom have gone on to become railroaders.
He was active in ARRC events until the end, having attended the annual picnic this past July and the October meeting. The ARRC honored Mr. Ensworth during its July 2010 meeting by awarding him a certificate of appreciation for his service to the club.
Mr. Ensworth was born November 14, 1922, in Akron. and grew up in Goodyear Heights. He graduated from Akron East High School and served in U.S. Army’s 35th Infantry Division during World War II. He was wounded in France during the war and received the Purple Heart.
He attended the University of Akron and Columbia University and for much of his career, Mr. Ensworth was a teacher, including stints at Simon Perkins Junior High School and Buchtel High School. He taught visual education, history and civics. He retired in 1976 after teaching in the Akron Public Schools for 49 years.
He spent nine years as a patrolman during the summer at Portage Lakes. He was also a member of the Land Conservancy, Lighter-Than-Air Society, Center for Inquiry, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Mr. Ensworth married Ruth Bradley and the couple had three children. Mrs. Ensworth died at age 79 in December 2002. She had been an elementary school teacher. They were married for 49 years. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Bob.
Mr. Ensworth is survived by two daughters, Susan Shah, of Wadsworth; Jean Schreiner, of Denver; a son, Clint Ensworth III of Medina County; and six grandchildren. He also is survived by a brother, Jack, of Bend, Oregon.
A memorial celebration will be held at 1 p.m. on November 20 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, 3300 Morewood Road. A reception will follow.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, NEOLS, or the Sharon Township Fire Department.