Springfield woman remembered for her love for family, community contributions

A local woman will be remembered for her legacy of “family first, love and service,” as well as her many contributions to the Springfield community.

Ruth Willke Folz, who died on Nov. 11 at age 96, inspired her family to “serve more, love more and make a difference.” She was a “prayer warrior,” loved bargain hunting, sewing matching clothes, going roller skating, playing tennis, and going on hikes and picnics with her grandchildren, fresh flowers, gardening, and sports.

“We will remember your smile, your unconditional love, your exhaustingly hard work, and volunteerism, and your love for family above all else,” said her daughter, Jeanne Folz Dearth. “We applaud you as you enter heaven, greeted by many who have preceded you. I bet your crown has the most jewels.”

Folz, who was born in Maria Stein, grew up in Cincinnati and down the street from her future husband, Dave. They were married for 73 years. She graduated from Our Lady of Angels High School, earned a nursing degree from Our Lady of Cincinnati College (now part of the University of Cincinnati), and then began her career as an RN at Good Samaritan Hospital before having 10 children in the next 18 years.

“Her most important career was raising her kids and helping with the grandkids and great-grandkids, visiting them frequently or hosting them in the large family gatherings in Springfield,” her obituary stated. “One of her important legacies was inspiring her children to follow her path of service by being active in their communities and giving back.”

After moving to Springfield, Folz joined in establishing a volunteer program to support young, disadvantaged mothers and their infants in the community, and founded the Parent Infant Center to provide families with material items, home visits, emotional support and educational classes to help mothers become loving and compassionate caregivers.

To stay on top of the counseling needs at the Parent Infant Center, Folz completed a Master of Education Program in her 50s at the University of Dayton.

“Even in her 90s, when she could not actively be involved with the Parent Infant Center, she continued to support their efforts by making blankets for many of the babies in the program,” her obituary stated.

Along with her work with the Parent Infant Center, she was also a part of over 20 other boards and community outreach organizations, and received several awards, including the Springfield Federation of Women’s Clubs Empowering Women One by One Award in 2022, which she is “most proud of,” the SERTOMA Service to Mankind Award in 1992, the Kiwanis Distinguished Service Award in 1996, and the Mercy Medical Center Outstanding Volunteer Service award in 1999..

Folz is survived by her husband, David; her children, Dave, Jeanne Dearth, Jerry, Mary Callahan, Nancy Murphy, Peggy, Andy, Susan West, and Sally Predmore, as well as 26 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, according to her obituary.

Her visitation will be held tonight from 4 to 7 p.m. at Jones-Kenney-Zechman Funeral Home, 1002 E. High St. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at St. Teresa Catholic Church, 1827 N. Limestone St. Folz will be interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Cincinnati at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Parent Infant Center c/o Rocking Horse Community Health Center, 651 S. Limestone St, Springfield, OH 45505. Condolences can be expressed to the family by visiting jkzfh.com/obituary/Ruth-Folz.

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