She was born Eunice Grace Constance Eirich, a daughter of Rev. J. Conrad Eirich and his wife, W. Margaret Young. Constance was born 14 October 1888 in Van Wert, OH. Although she spent her youth in these rural surroundings, her adult life was spent in various places around the U.S. as she pursued her education and career as a geologist.
The following rather lengthy
article was published in a local Ohio newspaper on 4 Nov 1952 upon Constance's
retirement. It is accompanied by a photograph of the subject sitting at a desk,
and with the caption "Woman Geologist. You'd think that oil prospecting
was strictly a man's work, but here's a Van Wert woman who has just retired as
one of the leaders in that field. She's Miss Constance Eirich who has come back
to her home town to live after 34 years in oil work, credited with major work
in the discovery of four new oil pools."
"By a curious turn of
circumstances near the end of World War I, Miss Constance G. Eirich, 315 North
Jefferson Street, a former teacher in Van Wert public schools, found herself in
the oil fields of Oklahoma engaged in a career of locating oil pools for the
Gulf Oil Corporation which held her interest through 34 years.
Miss Eirich, after leaving Van Wert, taught for two years in the Battle Creek, Mich., schools, and was considering a position in the Kansas City schools when she became interested through friends in the oil industry and moved to Tulsa.
She volunteered for what was then considered a man's job and on Sept. 1, 1918, was assigned to the Tulsa production division of the old Gypsy Oil Company as a subsurface geologist.
She thought it might be only temporary work, but the oil company expanded its operations and the duties filled by Miss Eirich became so vital to the successful operation of geological department of the Gypsy, later the Gulf Oil Corp., that she continued at her desk and laboratory.
The retirement of Miss Eirich as of October 1, was announced by P. H. Bohart, vice president of the Gulf Oil Corp., last August, paying her high tribute for her efficiency and faithfulness during her long service with the oil company. Miss Eirich's subsurface geological work for the oil company extended through central Oklahoma and eastern Kansas during the past several years.
Vice President Bohart, in announcing her retirement, called attention to the fact that in her specialty of subsurface geology she is credited by the company with having prepared the reports that led to the discovery of four new pools in which Gulf was prominently situated.
They are the Cheyarha and Garcreek in Seminole county; Rosenwald in Okfuskee, and East Payson in Lincoln.
When asked about her first interest in geology, Miss Eirich states that it is a bit difficult to pinpoint her beginning in geological science.
She enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University but her subjects there had little to do with science. She does remember once mounting a mastodon tooth found in some glacial drift in this area for the late J. P. Sharkey, who was then superintendent of the Van Wert city schools.
Her interests were definitely in the field of geological science as she studied later at the University of Michigan where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees.
Miss Eirich has returned to her native county of Van Wert and recently moved into her home at 315 North Jefferson Street, which is known as the Bonnewitz property. She purchased this several years ago and has extensively remodeled the house.
Miss Ruth Douglas, a friend and classmate at the University of Michigan of Miss Eirich's, is planning to spend the winter with Miss Eirich. Miss Douglas recently retired from the English department of the Central High School at Tulsa.
Miss Eirich is the type of person who has been so busy during her career in the oil industry, which now plays so important a part in our national economy, that she will not be content to sit down and take a long rest.
Asked about her future plans she said:
"I certainly will want to keep up with the latest developments in the oil industry, especially in my chosen field of subsurface geology. This requires constant research, but of course as I am now situated in a retirement status, it will be without the constant demands and pressure of former years."
The average layman finds subsurface geology is a rather "deep" subject and this reporter had to ask a few simple questions such as: "How do you go about finding oil?" and "How can you tell what's under the ground on which we are now standing?"
Miss Eirich very patiently volunteered with some information pertaining to the tools used by a subsurface geologist.
Several years ago the seismograph was introduced as an instrument in sounding out for possible oil pools, Miss Eirich explained.
"Seismograph records reveal the reflections of dynamite explosions set off in holes drilled into the earth and these reflections show the formation of rock under the surface. The readings on a seismograph record can only be interpreted by a trained person," the geologist pointed out.
The seismograph has come into use in the oil industry within the past 15 years.
Another and more recent development in the study of geological formations under the surface is the use of electronics. This method, according to Miss Eirich, makes available an "electrical log" showing the exact positions of geological formations penetrated by means of drilling, and shows the presence of gas, water, and oil in possible producing horizons.
The term, horizon, in this case refers to the depth of the geological stratum, rather than to a place where the sky and earth's surface apparently meet as we most commonly think of it.
This new method of making an electrical survey in prospective oil fields was first developed by a German named Schlumberger, who later moved to France and perfected his method there. The Schlumberger method is protected by patents and is widely used by oil prospectors.
Coming a bit closer to home, Miss Eirich related that Trenton limestone is the source of most of the oil and gas in this area. This limestone is about 1,200 feet down under the city of Van Wert and forms what geologists refer to as the "Cincinnati arch."
This arch extends northward from Cincinnati and forms a "Y" a little farther north, branching off northeastward toward Findlay, and in a northwesterly direction toward the "Michigan basin," the source of oil found in Michigan state.
And, lest any of our readers might start to do some wishful thinking about oil gushers close to home, Miss Eirich stated that Van Wert sits somewhat on the hump, or highest point of this underground Trenton limestone, and oil is more likely to crop out at points sloping off the hump of this oil bearing rock.
Miss Eirich is a sister to Otto Eirich, RFD 3; and to the late Miss Laura Eirich, former principal of the Anthony Wayne school. Another brother, Frank Eirich, resides at Utica, O."
One year later, on 31 Oct 1953, the following article appeared in an unknown newspaper:
"SPRINGFIELD -- A retired Van Wert geologist has given her geology library to
Wittenberg University, President John N. Stauffer announced Thursday.
The gift from Miss Constance Eirich, which consists of geology journals and books, provides "a most important acquisition for the Thomas Library geology collection," Dr. Stauffer said.
"We are thrilled about this gift because of the added support that it will provide for our work in geology," Dr. Stauffer added.
Miss Eirich's gift includes the entire collection of Bulletins published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists from 1921 to 1960. Also included in the 650 items are numerous U.S. Geological Survey Bulletins and other geological books and pamphlets.
The geology publications will be an invaluable asset for the geology department, both as supplemental reading in connection with geology courses and for student and faculty research, according to Floyd Nave, assistant professor of geology.
Miss Eirich was a staff geologist with the Gulf Oil Company for 34 years. She retired in 1952.
She has served on the Van Wert City Council and is a former president of the Van Wert County Historical Society.
Miss Eirich attended Ohio Wesleyan University and was graduated from the University of Michigan. She has also taken graudate study at Michigan."
Twenty years later, Constance died at the age of 84. Her obituary appeared in a local newspaper on 5 Mar 1973.
"Prominent Van Wert civic and community leader Constance G. Eirich, 84,
died unexpectedly at 2 p.m. Saturday in her residence. The Fire Department's
emergency squad was sumoned to the home by a neighbor at 3:57 p.m. Miss Eirich
was dead upon their arrival.
A native of Van Wert, Miss Eirich was born Oct. 14, 1888, a daughter of the Rev. J.C. and Margaret (Yonge (sic)) Eirich.
A graduate of Van Wert High School, she later returned to the school as a science instructor after attaining her bachelors' and masters' degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She also attended Ohio Wesleyan University and did graduate study at Michigan.
After leaving Van Wert, Miss Eirich taught for two years in Battle Creek, Mich. and was considering a position in the Kansas City School System near the end of World War I when she became interested in the oil industry and moved to Tulsa where she began a career as a geologist. On Sept. 1, 1918, she became associated with the Tulsa Production Division of Old Gypsy Oil Co. as a subsurface geologist. In following years she devoted her time to desk and laboratory duties until her retirement 34 years later on Oct. 1, 1952, at which time she returned to Van Wert.
She and long-time friend, Miss Ruth Douglas, resided at 315 N. Jefferson St. The home, formerly known as the Bonnewitz property, had been purchased by Miss Eirich before her retirement and was extensively remodeled.
Upon returning to Van Wert, Miss Eirich became actively engaged in community activities. She served on the Van Wert City Council and was at one time president of the Van Wert County Historical Society. She was an active member of St. Mark's Lutheran Church, the Van Wert Woman's Club, the Garden Study Club and Van Wert County Farm Bureau.
Miss Eirich was preceded in death by two brothers, Otto and Frank, and a sister, Laura.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday in St. Mark's Lutheran Church with the Rev. Henry Snyder officiating. Burial will be in Woodland Cemetery.
Friends may call at the Alspach Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today.
Preferred memorials are to St. Mark's Lutheran Memorial Fund and Heart Association."