Ruth Oppenheimer

Ruth J Oppenheimer

1926 - 2023

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Obituary of Ruth J Oppenheimer

Ruth J. Oppenheimer of Surprise, AZ, formerly of Muskegon, MI, and Sun City and Peoria, AZ, was born July 1, 1926 in Baltimore, Maryland and passed away on June 29, 2023.  She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Alan.  Ruth is survived by her sons and daughters-in-law Lee and Sandi, Neil and Jo Ann, Howard and Julie, and grandchildren Leah and Sari.


A stay-at-home mom until her sons were out of the house, Ruth then worked part-time in retail clothing, where she enjoyed interacting with the customers.

Ruth was very outgoing and always had a smile on her face.  She had a knack for being able to meet new people and immediately making them feel comfortable.  She was extremely witty, always making others laugh.

Ruth’s and Alan’s passion was travel, which included trips to Israel, China, Australia, Europe, and Mexico.  They especially enjoyed going on cruises.

Each summer Ruth, Alan, and the boys drove to Baltimore to visit family.  Ruth was a superb navigator on family road trips to new places.

A lifelong fan of the Baltimore Orioles and Colts, Ruth became an Arizona Diamondbacks fan after moving to Arizona.  She enjoyed drinking coffee every day, getting her hair done every week, and playing bridge whenever she could.

Ruth was very well read and knowledgeable about current events and people always wanted to be on Ruth’s team when they played trivia games.

Family and giving back to the community were very important to Ruth.  She was a leader in the Muskegon Jewish community, serving as principal of the religious school, being active in Jewish women’s groups, including serving as president of Sisterhood, and being a longtime member of the Temple choir.  She played a major role in organizing the Muskegon Jewish community’s centennial celebration.  Ruth also volunteered with the Muskegon County United Way.  After moving to Arizona, Ruth became very active in the local Jewish community, including cooking and serving at Temple events.

Ruth was a  phenomenal cook whose sons never had to be told to clean their plates.  Well, OK, maybe they left the Brussels sprouts.  She had a passion for cooking for family, friends, and Temple events. Ruth was regarded as one of the best cooks in the Muskegon Jewish community and taught a series of Jewish cooking classes as part of the community’s centennial celebration.  She was especially known for her mandel bread.  Ruth also catered many of the life cycle events at the Temple and at Muskegon interfaith events.

One of Ruth’s and Alan’s proudest moments occurred in Muskegon.  With local restaurants closed each Christmas Eve, police officers on patrol had nowhere to go to warm up and have a decent meal.  Beginning Christmas Eve in 1977, and continuing for 14 more years, Ruth and Alan opened up their home through the overnight hours to the patrol officers for three area police departments.  They provided a warm atmosphere, complete with casseroles and finger food, desserts, hot coffee, and friendly conversation.  The importance of this gesture was not lost upon the police departments, who presented Ruth and Alan with a thank you plaque when they retired to Arizona.

Ruth was a longtime participant in a local Banner Sun Health Research Institute brain research project, with the hope that others would benefit from this research.

She will be truly missed by the many people whose lives she touched.

A special thanks to the staff at Rock Creek Memory Care and United Hospice for the care they provided Ruth.

In lieu of flowers, Ruth asked that memorial donations be made to Temple Beth Shalom, 12202 N. 101st Ave., Sun City, AZ, 85351 or Temple B’nai Israel, 391 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon, MI, 49440.  A memorial service will be held at Temple Beth Shalom in Sun City at 2:00 PM on Sunday, July 23.

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