Obituary: Ruth Rudinger

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 21

Ruth Rudinger, a tireless volunteer for local theaters and Jewish groups, died Friday of a stroke at Darlington House. She was 83.

She was born Ruth Rosenberg in 1914 in Cleveland. Her father was a chemist; her mother the local head of the American Red Cross. Friends introduced her to Irving Rudinger, and they soon were married.

Mr. Rudinger decided to open a clothing store in Toledo, so the family moved here in 1945. They opened Colony Men’s and Boy’s Wear on Central Avenue, where Mrs. Rudinger kept the books and occasionally sold clothes.

“It was a really fashionable store,” said Susan Rudinger, her daughter. “They sold top quality clothes.”

While her husband ran the business, Mrs. Rudinger devoted her time to an array of causes in northwest Ohio. Mrs. Rudinger volunteered her time to the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Zoo, Crosby Gardens, the Sylvania Public Library Association, the Girl Scouts, and more than a dozen other area organizations.

“I’ve never met anyone in my life who loved life as much as she did,” her daughter said. “If anyone needed help, she was always there.”

To help the blind, she hosted a weekly radio program in which she read highlights from the newspapers to a seven-county audience.

But her greatest love was for the theater. She supported nearly every theater company in town, and acted and directed plays into her 70s. She served as an usher in local theaters into her 80s.

“She loved being on stage,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Rudinger was one of the leaders of Toledo’s Jewish community, serving as president of B’nai B’rith in the 1960s. She taught Sunday school for 45 years, giving lectures and presentations on Judaism. She designed Hanukkah services for children that have been used nationwide.

She merged two of her loves in the Center Players, a theater troupe she founded at the Jewish Community Center on Sylvania Avenue.

Surviving are daughter, Susan Rudinger; two sons, Joel and Jonathan Rudinger, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held today at 11 a.m. at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Avenue, Sylvania.

The family requests tributes be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.