Ruth Luthringer, 95

OPRF board member, photographer for Jimmy Carter

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Ruth F. Luthringer, 95, died on Aug. 8, 2019. Born on July 6, 1924 to Charles Ferrill and Ethel Powell ("Born with coal-black hair fully an inch long," her mother said), she grew up during the Great Depression in Berea, Kentucky, where she later attended college before moving to New York and earning a master's degree in sociology from Columbia University. She married John Lewis Luthringer and was a social worker in the Chicago area throughout the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. She had a passion for helping others, and although professionally trained in social work, often chose to volunteer her time and talents to various charities, needs and causes within her community, even into her 90s. In fact until somewhat recently — though legally blind for many years — she walked nearly a mile, 2-3 times a week from Oak Park to Forest Park where she was a volunteer at the Cancer Center, assisting patients and staff. 

Among her many accomplishments, she was elected treasurer of the Oak Park and River Forest High School board in the early 1970s and continued in that role until 1980. After the last of her children headed off to college, she decided to take classes in painting and photography. She worked very hard at improving in both endeavors and quickly became good at both. Discovering that taking photos was where it was really at for her, she became an avid photographer, with one photo put on permanent display in the Museum of Science and Industry in downtown Chicago. She was the personal photographer to former President Jimmy Carter whenever he was working in the Midwestern states with Habitat for Humanity. 

At the age of 64, she taught English at Taipei University, and moved to Taipei, Taiwan from 1988 to 1989. However, her greatest passion was her children and grandchildren. She often said, "All you children are truly my greatest joy in life!" She was known for her quick wit, her headstrong personality, and her independent spirit, which she instilled in all her children. 

Ruth Luthringer is survived by her children, John, Virginia and David; and her six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband John Lewis Luthringer, and by her second child, George. Having outlived nearly all her friends, Ruth's wish was that her body be cremated, and her ashes scattered to the wind in a beautiful place, and that no memorial or funeral service be held. Her children and grandchildren have decided to divide her ashes, and each will carry some to places she has either been or will now visit as we travel on in this life with the memories and lessons of hers, a life well-lived.

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