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Obituary of Ruth Hermach
Martha Ruth Hermach was born November 16, 1927, in Englewood, Arapahoe, Colorado. She died peacefully in her own home January 22, 2023, at the age of 95.
Ruth lived an ideal life for a woman of her time. From a hard-scrabble life of farming, she raised a strong family with kindness and service, providing large family meals for the many friends and family who were ever-present in her beautiful home. She was a sweet, welcoming person with a joyful countenance who abounded with love and wisdom . Her beautiful blue eyes sparkled with good cheer.
Ruth Hermach was a true pioneer in her own right. As part of homestead programs offered to veterans, her family moved to the North Platte River in Wyoming near the Nebraska border in 1928. Her dad built a sod house where she met her future husband when she was just 5. The many hardships of the dustbowl and depression era brought about close family life with shared responsibility and the appreciation of helpful neighbors. In 1933, they moved to the lush Napa Valley where they farmed prune, fruit and nut orchards and wine and table grapes. In 1941, they moved to Oregon’s McKenzie River area. They built a new home and farm from scratch in the little community of Cedar Flat .
She married George Rudolph Hermach in 1944 when she was 17. She had her first child, Tim, in 1945. Tom, Terry, and Ted came within six years. George’s parents lived in a log cabin at Rolling Riffle Creek that they named Tannenwald. The four boys enjoyed both sets of grandparents and their great big oudoor playground between the two homes. She said her mission in life was to “keep those boys alive.” They enjoyed wilderness adventures all throughout Oregon and California travelling in a red Volkswagen bus.
Thanks to Ruth, food is the Hermach love language. She would train her sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, and great grandchildren in the kitchen - nurturing that love. She hosted thousands of holiday, family and friend celebrations. Her table was lovely to behold boasting of her own flowers, precious fine china, stoneware, and a feast.
She often spoke of her love of learning which remained vital throughout her life. When the boys were living on their own, she enrolled at the University of Oregon at 38 where she earned a bachelors degree in Planning Public Policy and Management. Shortly after, serving the people of Brownsville as their City Administrator for several years. She spoke of her job in glowing terms. She loved the people she met there and she loved being a public servant.
Ruth deeply valued community, environmental and political involvements -- spending years in service to the League of Women Voters, “block party hosts”, Parent-Teacher Organization, Boy Scouts, and Obsidians. She read the Register-Guard and Oregonian newspapers every day. It was very important to her to be aware of what was going on in the world. She truly enjoyed talking politics and she greatly appreciated people willing to serve in public office.
Adventures abounded. She and George traveled the world, appreciating the systems and cultures of Austria and Europe. They spoke often of travels that included their siblings and their many trips with George flying the plane. The travel they spoke of most was exploring the West in their many RVs. A favorite memory of her boys is of spending a week camping at Scott Lake with their mom. They say the Park Ranger stopped in to check on them and remarked they had so many campfires that they had burned an entire tree.
She was a skilled tailor who made dolls, fancy dresses, and clothes for the family. She knew her boys would enjoy a doll so she made a soft doll that had fine details including dimpled knees and elbows. He was named Snicklefritz.
She was keenly aware of the changing times and that women had secured more freedom in society. She remarked that women today don’t have to spend the two hours every morning cleaning the house like she did. And preparing five dish family meals where each dish came out at the same time, would naturally become something of a lost art when working outside the home.
As a loving wife of 78 years, Ruth supported George’s entrepreneurial ventures moving them many times even across the country, living in Virginia from 1969 to 1971 when the family returned to her beloved Eugene. In 1971 they moved into their home on West 29th St. overlooking Eugene. She filled the home with teak Scandinavian design furniture and a welcoming atmosphere. She lovingly tended the yard, keeping it in a well cultivated but natural state, with a hill of blueberry plants, raspberry, kiwi, and a vegetable garden. It was a perpetual gathering place for her large family who are spread across the country.
She had an in dominatable joy for living that ensured she had a positive outlook on life and gratitude was ever-present. It helped her bring her family through the challenges life brought their way. She was the heart of the family and the sweetest of matriarchs.
Ruth’s mother was Alice Towne, born Jun 6, 1896, in Trinidad, Colorado. Her father was Alfred “Dutch” C. Hermach, born August 14, 1896, in Attnang, Vocklabruck, Oberoster-reich, Austria.
Ruth was preceded in death by Ted, her youngest son. She is survived by her husband, George (100 years old, Eugene, OR); three sons: Tim (Eugene, OR), Tom (Portland, OR), Terry (Valdez, AK); 4 grandchildren: Kristina (Olympia, WA), Benjamin (Eugene, OR), Jonathan (Spokane, WA), Alice (Seattle, WA); and 3 great grandchildren: Leo Brine (Seattle, WA), Konrad Brine (Davis, CA) and India Brine (Seattle, WA).
Ruth’s memorial service will be held Saturday, March 11, 2023, 2:00p.m. at the Celeste Campbell Center, Eugene, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Ruth Hermach to the Eugene Library Foundation, These are tax-deductible. Address is 100 W. 10th St., Suite 317, Eugene, OR, 97401 (https://www.eplfoundation.org/).
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