A frequent traveler to China, Ruth was an ardent devotee of tai chi, and incorporated elements of Chinese architecture and Eastern mysticism in the club’s distinctive aesthetic, contributing to the sense of serenity. The mind-body programming and wellness services that Ruth introduced, delivered, and championed are regarded as part of the health and fitness industry’s canon, its core curriculum. Her vision, personal example, and unrelenting efforts have motivated and had an indelible impact on the fitness community for nearly 35 years, and continues to this very day.
A Minnesota native, Ruth designed the 67,000-square-foot facility situated in the sprawling, idyllic marshlands of Minnetonka, as an inclusive environment, providing programs and services in keeping with her comprehensive wellness philosophy.
“The Marsh was her personal creation and had her unique imprint…with its abundance of wonderful fine art, its multiple places to congregate and relax, and, above all, its warmth and friendliness,” said IHRSA Executive Director Emeritus John McCarthy. “The Marsh was Ruth’s creation, and every inch of it spoke of her.”
Ruth was revered for her leadership, service, and generosity, not only in the fitness and wellness world, but as a supporter of education and the arts. According to the Macalester College website, she served on the Macalester Alumni Board and Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2016 and was elected to Emerita status immediately following her retirement. Among many other honors and accolades, Ruth received the Macalester Distinguished Citizen Award in 1987 and the Trustees Award for Meritorious and Distinguished Service in 2018.