Ruth Schaffer Schildhouse, 93, died peacefully Oct. 29, 2020, surrounded by family, kisses and love. She died on the day she was born, exactly 93 years later - a perfect circle of life.
Ruth was born in Columbus on Oct. 29, 1927. She was a graduate of Columbus’ University High School (1945), The Ohio State University College of Social Work (1949) and The Mandel School of Social Work at Case Western Reserve University (1952).
Ruth’s lifelong objective was to promote international understanding and world peace, one person at a time. After holding various positions in her chosen field of social work, in 1972 she became the first executive director of the Columbus International Program, which she led until her retirement in 1999. During her time at the helm of CIP, Ruth brought over 550 international participants to Columbus to both share their knowledge with and learn from local agencies. Ruth’s work brought a global perspective to the agencies as well as to the local families who hosted them.
Education, politics and civic involvement mattered to Ruth. She was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor John Gilligan and then elected to continue a ten-year term. Ruth was active in the Columbus Metropolitan League of Women Voters, serving as president from 1970-1974. Hers was one of the featured stories in the 2015 documentary, “Light Undimmed: Stories from the League of Women Voters of Metro Columbus.” Other community positions to which she was appointed include the Ohio Youth Advisory Commission, the first Board of Central Ohio Transportation Authority (COTA), the Ohio Urban Education Coalition, and, in her younger years, one of five youth representatives to the Mid-Century Planning Committee for the White House Conference on Children and Youth.
Her “darling, darling family” was also of extreme importance to Ruth. She was preceded in death by husband and life partner of 65 years, Burton Schildhouse; parents, Max and Esther Schaffer; brother Lawrence D. Schaffer; in-laws, Jack and Sayde Schildhouse; sisters-in-law, Fran (Aaron) Weinberg and Evelyn Schildhouse; niece, Lauren Weinberg; nephew, Norman Weinberg; and great-nephew, Doug Weinberg. Adored and survived by daughters Julie (Mike) Jacobson, Amy (Josh) Greenberg and Melissa (Chip) Welsh; grandchildren, Daniel Zabludovsky (fiancee, Rachael Leitson), Bess and Jake Greenberg, and Lily and Max Welsh; nephews, Harold (Claire) Weinberg and Robert (Laurel) Weinberg; niece, Carol Weinberg; and many loving friends and longtime Team Ruth caregivers: Frank, Lamahr, Mary, Mary Ellen, Nikki and special caregiver and friend, Angie Hamblen.
A private graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 30 at New Tifereth Israel Cemetery. For Zoom link, please contact Epstein Memorial Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, donations are preferred to charity of donor’s choice. In honor of Ruth’s memory, please vote on Nov. 3. Online guestbook at epsteinmemorial.com.