Ruth "Ruthie" M. Matzek

October 23, 1929April 26, 2021

Ruthie Matzek passed away quietly at home in Chula Vista, CA April 26th, 2021, surrounded by her family. She was 91 years old. She was born Ruth Marie Bender on October 23, 1929 in Berlin, North Dakota. She was the youngest of 12 children born to Jacob and Katie (Schock) Bender. She lived in Berlin through high school and at the young age of 17, came out with her girlfriend on the bus to California in 1947. Her sister, Hilda Bender (Braun) was already living there in Stockton, CA.

Ruthie first worked at the local peach cannery and then on to work at the Stockton Credit Bureau. She resided then at the Baylor Women’s Boarding House. Not long after arriving in Stockton, Ruthie met the love of her life, Jim Matzek, and in six months, the two were married on July 3rd, 1948 in Stockton CA.

Ruthie and Jim started a family in 1951 with the birth of their first daughter, Pam, and lived in Stockton until they moved to Chula Vista, CA in 1953 where Jim began his long career in the construction industry. The family grew in 1956, with the birth of their second daughter, Julie, and then Debbie in 1960. Ruthie and Jim also supported St. Rose of Lima Parish and have been members since 1953.

Ruthie thrived as the president and CEO of the household. She was a talented seamstress, cook, cake decorator and ultimately an accomplished oil painter. She received a Recipe Endorsement award from Better Homes and Gardens magazine in 1964. She supported Jim with his home construction projects, gardening, and always volunteered at her daughter’s schools and supported all of their activities. She attended painting classes, cake decorating classes and ultimately roller skate classes when Jim bought her roller skates for her 50th birthday! She even attended Julie’s Jazzercise classes.

They enjoyed many openings and events over the years through Jim’s work at Nielsen Construction Company and Sea World, where they would always be the first couple on the dance floor ……The family moved to Florida in 1973 when Jim was assigned to build Sea World in Orlando, Fla. After the park was completed, they moved back to Chula Vista in 1974. Ruthie also supported Jim with the design and build of their current family home in 1977-78.

After the daughters graduated and moved on with their own lives, Ruthie and Jim enjoyed their retirement years with travel and participating in many craft shows with Ruthie’s oil paintings and Jim’s fine woodworking.

Ruthie was so kind and helpful to everyone around her and on every occasion, the best dressed woman in the room.

Ruthie was preceded in death by her parents, and 9 siblings: Ralph, who was killed in WWII, Edward, Alvin, Lenora, Tillie, Arline, Rachel, Harold and Aaron, who was also killed in WWII. She is survived by her husband, Jim Matzek, two siblings: Walter P. (Virginia) Bender, sr., Tomah, WI; and Hilda Braun, Roseville, CA; and her three children: Pam (Dave) McKenzie, Plymouth Meeting, PA; Julie (Jack) Harris Chula Vista, CA and Debbie Matzek, Chula Vista, CA. Ruth leaves behind 3 grandchildren, Mary Elizabeth McKenzie, Terri Lynne McKenzie and Nicole Harris and 2 greatgrandchildren, Dominic and Isabella along with many Bender and Matzek nieces, nephews, and cousins.


  • Jim Matzek, Spouse
  • Pam Mc Kenzie (Dave), Daughter
  • Julie Harris (Jack), Daughter
  • Debbie Matzek, Daughter
  • Mary Elizabeth McKenzie, Granddaughter
  • Terri Lynne McKenzie, Granddaughter
  • Nicole Harris, Granddaughter
  • Walter P Bender Sr. (Virginia), Brother
  • Hilda Braun, Sister
  • 2 Great Grandchildren; Dominic, Isabella and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins.


  • Mass of a Christian Burial

    Monday, May 10, 2021


Ruth "Ruthie" M. Matzek

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gina Parkhouse

May 5, 2021

Sincere condolences to the Matzek family on your great loss. I am a friend of Pam and Dave from Ottawa, Canada, and have many memories of Pam recounting the days of growing up in California and her fun and boisterous family. That alone is a great tribute to a wonderful mother "Ruthie" . May you all continue to love each other in memory of her.

Rachel Schultz

May 3, 2021

Her obituary is such a beautiful tribute to a life well lived. It was so beautifully written. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Treasure all your beautiful memories. Sending love and hugs to you Uncle Jim and your girls. Rachel Schultz