She was the wife of Rod L. McGrath, whom she married January 18, 2014.
Born in Reading, she was the daughter
of the late Rufus and Beryl (Baker) Fister.
Ruth was a 1946 graduate of Reading High School. Later she earned her BA from Kutztown University and her MS in Women's Studies and Labor Relations from Rutgers
She was a member of Wyomissing Church of the Brethren.
Ruth was both a teacher and associate dean at Empire State College, Manhattan Campus, for 11 years. In 1990,
she founded the United Community Services for Working Families (UCSWF) in Reading, where she was Executive Director until 2014; she remained active in her nonprofit
as the Director of Sustainability. While Ruth was executive director her primary initiatives were the Food Pantry, Youth Build, and Rapid Response, all programs to help the Reading community.
In 2009, Ruth received the Doran Award from The United Way of Berks County for her outstanding contributions to Reading and Berks County. In 2006 Ruth was awarded the John C. Brennan Award from the PA Labor History Society for excellence in fostering an understanding of labor history in our schools.
She served on numerous nonprofit boards including:
The Wyomissing Foundation Board, Berks Community Health Center (Chair of Governments Committee), Workforce Development Board of Berks County, and
Community Impact Cabinet of the United Way. Even in her eighties, Ruth earned $1.08 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to help teenagers achieve their GED while learning job skills.
She was a lifelong dog lover and will be sorely missed by her two dogs, Tilly and Tsubo. Ruth was a fabulous hostess and wonderful cook. She was a longtime supporter of RACC; was a women's rights advocate; and a staunch
supporter of education. Ruth's hobbies included ballroom dancing, canoeing, bird watching, many trips to the shore and traveling.
In addition to her husband, Ruth is survived by three step-children: Susan M. McGrath, Newmanstown;
Elizabeth A., wife of Paul Lavicka, Downingtown; and Rod McGrath Jr., Wyomissing; and step-grandchildren, Harry Naumann and Jackson Brubaker.
Other survivors include sister-in-law, Fern Heckman; brother in-law, Tom Mathews; a niece, Pam, husband of Chris Sweigart; grandnieces, Erika and Sarah; nephews, Kevin and David Mathews; grandnephews: Mitchell, Chad and Shane; grandniece, Kelsey; and a very dear close friend, Sr. Pat Wolfe, IHM, Philadelphia.
Ruth was predeceased in 2011 by her first husband,
William Mathews, after 42 years of marriage.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 5th, 4-7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express, 405 North Park Road, Wyomissing. All her friends are invited to attend to truly celebrate her wonderful life, participating and sharing fond memories.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to United Community Services, 1251 Front Street, Reading, PA 19601 or Animal Rescue League, P.O. Box 69, Mohnton, PA 19540.
Edward J. Kuhn Funeral Home, Inc., West Reading is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be
recorded at www.kuhnfuneralhome.com.