Des Moines - Ruth Klotz, 98, of Des Moines passed on November 14, 2020, due to complications of COVID-19.
Judge Klotz was born on November 10, 1922, to Inez Morgan Babcock and Lloyd Babcock in Mason City. She grew up in the home of her Morgan grandparents in Iowa Falls, where she graduated from high school in 1940 and from Ellsworth Junior College in 1942. She then moved to Des Moines, where she did secretarial work at the Iowa Department of Employment Security. She married Earl Fritz in 1950, and earned her BS from Drake in 1954 and her JD from Drake Law in 1955. Earl died in 1954, and Ruth married Richard Klotz in 1956.
As a woman attorney and judge, she was an inspiration and mentor to two generations of women in the law in Iowa. Professionally, she had a solo practice in Hampton, then joined the Dickinson firm in Des Moines, followed by several years with Bankers Trust. She was appointed to the bench as Probate Referee for the 5th Iowa Circuit in 1978, and retired as an Associate Judge in 2013 at the age of 90. She was recognized for her service by the Iowa Organization of Women Attorneys' Arabella Mansfield Award, the Polk County Bar Association's Lifetime of Service Award, and by being named the Drake Law School's 1999 Alumna of the Year, among other honors. In 2019, she was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.
Ruth joined an affiliate of the Soroptimist service club in 1948, and served as an officer at the local and regional levels before serving as president of the Soroptimist Federation of the Americas from 1974-1976. Her time in the presidency included trips to Japan, Turkey, and South America, and a White House conference. Her program theme of "Women Helping Women" is now central to the organization's mission. She served two terms as president of the Soroptimist Foundation.
She joined Plymouth Church in 1959. She served for many years as treasurer of the church and the Plymouth Foundation. She also served on the Calvin Community board.
She is survived by her daughter Holly Klotz (David Simpson) of Des Moines, and her grandchildren Jane Simpson of Des Moines and Andrew Simpson of Justice IL. She was preceded in death by her husband Richard Klotz, and her cousins, Jack Larsen of Knoxville, TN, and Nadine Sorenson of Los Altos, CA.
There will be a private burial service, followed by a public memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Plymouth Church Foundation, 4126 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312, or Soroptimist International of Des Moines, 2208 SW 35th St, Ankeny IA 50023.
The family thanks the staff of Home Instead, A-Plus Services/Sutton Senior Home, and Care Initiatives Hospice for the care that Ruth received since 2018.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by the Des Moines Register from Nov. 15 to Nov. 22, 2020.