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“Great Obituary . Thanks for having it online. ”
1 of 2 | Posted by: Patricia Wyneken - St. Louis, MO

“To Julie,Jenny and family:I extend my deepest condolences on the passing of your mother.I had the pleasure of knowing her through your father,...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Philip Darling - Chicago, IL


Ruth Helen Imler Langhinrichs died peacefully on April 16th, 2019. She was surrounded by her family and friends. Born on October 30th, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, Ruth was the daughter of the late Susan Smith and Roy Imler. Her husband, Richard Alan Langhinrichs, former minister of the UU Congregation of Fort Wayne, passed away in 1990. Ruth was also preceded in death by her two younger sisters, Dorothy and Shirley. Ruth was the beloved mother of two daughters and their husbands, Julie (Ben) Langhinrichs of Cleveland, Ohio and Jenny (Marty) Langhinrichsen-Rohling of Mobile, Alabama. She was blessed with six incredible grandchildren, Sara (Mike) Langhinrichs Gifford, Nathan (Kirsten) Langhinrichs, Matt Langhinrichs, Ali Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Rosy (Frank) Langrohling-Amanor, and Ryan Langhinrichsen-Rohling. Each cherishes their many remarkable memories of Granny Ruth and her passion for life and learning. Her surviving friends, biological family, and family-by-choice members were abundant and essential to the full life she led and the grief we are experiencing at her loss.
At the time of her death, Ruth was working on her memoir "My Intricate Life: Nearly A Hundred Years in the Making". Always one to find the right title for her work, her memoir title was inspired by a line in a poem by e. e. cummings, a favorite poet. This ambitious work was "not meant to be about how to live a good life or how to succeed in the business world." Instead, "it's a story about a little girl whose father died when she was 6-years old at the beginning of the Great Depression – and how these two events shaped her perception of herself and her future." She hoped to weave together and honor her grandchildren's interests in feminism, media, and politics; family recipes and ancient lore; robots, education; interior decoration, art, beauty; civil rights, equality; culture and travel. Simultaneously, she sought to answer questions about her time working as an Associate Editor of the Ladies Home Journal, writing an advice column called "Dear Gay Head" that had an estimated 6 million readers in the 1950's and led to The Etiquette Man, a 90's cinema production, and thriving on the editorial boards of Scholastic, Science Illustrated, and Look Magazines in New York.
Ruth was a writer; "words were her bread and butter." As an American Playwright, she wrote and produced, "Mermaids in the Basement," "The Heart of the Limberlost," "A Night on Walden Pond," and "Feathers." She was also a poet, a lifelong reader, a mentor, an educator, an editor and a muse. She was the first in her family to attend college, receiving a B.S. in English with dual minors in Philosophy and Creative Writing. One of her proudest achievements was graduating Cum Laude from Northwestern University, although that seems small compared to all she has accomplished in her long and full life. She never stopped to rest in her 96 years, holding positions on too many boards to name, serving in many different capacities throughout the city of Fort Wayne. Most notably, she was a founding member of Cinema Center, the Mayor's representative to the Area III Council on Aging, and a delegate to the International Women's Conference in Beijing. One of her happiest periods was working at the Purdue University Writing Center as a sought-after consultant for college students; she maintained this job into her 80's.
Ruth never shied away from new challenges. She enrolled and graduated from clown school when she was in her 70's, bringing "Lottie" to life. Her lifelong interests included art, mental health, philosophy, religion, and women's issues. Poetry, cinema, theatre, drawing, and contemporary literature were among her favorite pastimes. Additionally, she has been deeply engaged with Unitarian Universalism for more than 50 years, and she regularly attended and served the UU Congregation of Fort Wayne in many capacities.
Ruth was a woman who cannot be captured by words on a page. She lived her life free of the restrictions society worked to impose upon her. She rolled her eyes at things that were boring, mundane, and formulaic. Instead, she searched for the whimsical, unusual, beautiful parts of everything she encountered. She took the best of the old and merged it with the best of the new, always growing and evolving. There is no one way to describe who she was, what she has accomplished, or the lives she has touched. No one way to remember a soul full of nuance, a person with thousands of facets. We all carry with us a unique piece of her, and she wouldn't have it any other way. Memorial contributions may be made to the UU Congregation of Fort Wayne, Cinema Center, or the Women's Bureau.