ETHYLE RUTH BLOCH, passed from this life Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, leaving a legacy of love, devotion and environmental activism that went well beyond her nearly 94 years of life. Born June 1, 1920, in Des Moines, Iowa, she was the daughter of the late Clarence Leroy Strike and Ruth Henrietta Jaeger. She spent much of youth on the move since her father was a career Army man. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor's degree in Art as World War II was beginning, and she promptly moved to Hawaii where her father was stationed. She began her adult career as an Accountant for the Army just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, after which she was evacuated back stateside. She was married to William C. Bloch on July 11, 1942 in Orlando, Fla. The newlyweds spent much of the war years apart since Bill was also active in the Army. When the war ended, the couple settled in Fort Wayne, where they both were active in local politics and the environment. In December of 1959, both Bill and Ethyle were among the founders of ACRES, an environmental group formed initially in the effort to create the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Ethyle became the fledgling group's treasurer, a post that she held for 17 years. Because of her love for the environment, she gave tirelessly to her efforts to help clean up Indiana's waters and preserve the natural areas of the state. She served on the Water Resources Committee for the League of Women Voters during the 50's, was the first woman President of the Indiana Izaak Walton League, was a Board Member of the River Greenway organization and was President of the Hoosier Environmental Council. She and her closest friend, Jane Dustin, passionately pursued the development of state regulations to protect Indiana's waterways and establish water quality standards for the state. These two women actively pursued many of the pollution issues of Indiana's waterways long before the topic had entered the public consciousness, testifying numerous times before the state legislature, and holding politicians strictly to the law. Because of their efforts and the efforts of a number of other members of the ACRES organization, Indiana's waters are much healthier. Ethyle and Bill's love of nature extended to Peshtigo, Wisc. where they labored hard to protect Bill's family farm which is now a dedicated Wisconsin Nature Preserve. Following Bill's death in 2002, Ethyle moved from Indiana to Peshtigo, Wisc. where she had numerous relatives. She is survived by her daughter, Pamela (Mike) Malicoat of Marinette, Wisc.; her son, Willson Bloch of Mancos, Colo.; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. She was also preceded in death by her infant son, Andy in 1952; and by her three younger sisters, Mary Ann Schwartz, Janet Martin, and Katherine Mayland. No funeral service or calling are planned, but a memorial service is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014 at Faith Lutheran Church, 4009 Irving St. in Marinette, Wisc. Memorial contributions can be made to the Ethyle R. Bloch Memorial Fund c/o ACRES INC., 2000 N. Wells St., Fort Wayne, IN. 46808.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on Mar. 2, 2014.