Jerry Wayne Ruth

November 19, 1946April 6, 2018
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Jerry Ruth

Jerald “Jerry” Wayne Ruth, 71. Born November 19, 1946, died April 6, 2018 in Las Vegas Nevada. On April 5, 20108 after a visit to the Las Vegas Athletic Club, his normal daily routine, Jerry collapsed in full cardiac arrest. He was able to hold on until Brent(son) and Wendy (daughter) arrived from Seattle for final goodbyes. Then, honoring Jerry’s wishes, life support was removed. He passed away on April 6 at 0042am. Jerry lived, in Graham, Washington, with his younger brother, Terry and his parents, Ed and Adele Ruth. At the tender age of 5, Jerry suffered a traumatic event when his older brother Alfred, age 9, died at home with Jerry in attendance. This awful event influenced every aspect of life for Jerry from that time forward. Being an only child for the next nine years, Jerry began collecting coins. Of course, he also had to attend to daily farm chores. There were cows to milk, steers to raise and most importantly an outdoor basketball hoop. Jerry graduated from Bethel High School in 1965, where he lettered in Basketball, Baseball and Band. From there, Jerry attended the University of Washington where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. Graduating from the UW in 1969, he began working as a Registered Pharmacist at Tacoma General Hospital. It was at TGH that Jerry met his wife, Barbara. They were the talk of the hospital gossip chain from the time they met in April, got engaged in June and married in October 1972. In 1973, Jerry and Barbara were blessed with their first child, Wendy and following in 1976 they happily welcomed son, Brent. The human family was complete and the adoption of (many) dogs was just beginning. Nearly all who knew Jerry, knew him as an avid University of Washington sports fan. He was a TYEE member, Lifetime member of the UW Alumni Association and a Lifetime member of the President’s Circle. He even made his children, Wendy and Brent, attend the U of W for undergraduate studies. As a devoted Husky supporter, he followed both Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Softball, Volleyball, Baseball, and Football. He was often found expressing his thoughts and opinions on the UW Fan-Blog – Dawgman. For nearly 30 years, our Fall weekend plans were dictated by the Home/Away schedule for Husky Football where we would either travel to Seattle for a Home game or to one of the Pac-10/Pac-12 away games in Oregon, California, and Arizona. This love for Husky Football also made it easy to identify our holiday plans – we loved our family trips to the Bowl games. From eating fresh Oranges in Miami 1985, to smelling the Roses more times that we could count – but most definitely in 1991 – this love of his alma mater carried through right up to this past year when he watched the Huskies play in the Fiesta Bowl for the very first time. In terms of attire and appearance, it was always Husky gear…. Tank tops, socks and shorts for everyday living, another set for Handball or basketball playing and for formal attire, he wore short sleeved Husky polo shirts, shorts (if he could get away with it) or long pants if he couldn't. Outerwear?? Everything from windbreakers to down-filled parkas. Gloves, scarves, UW baseball caps, and wool hats completed his wardrobe. For those who missed that side of Jerry, another defining characteristic was his need to be physically active at all times. He was a member of the YMCA for over fifty years. He played basketball on a daily basis until one day, about 35 years ago, a friend introduced him to handball. Then it was daily handball and subsequent handball tournaments around the United States and Canada. We always made a family vacation out of it – and some of the best family vacation memories just happen to include a 4-7-day stint at an athletic club watching Jerry play. Jerry was a Hospital and Retail pharmacist, who had great empathy for his patients. When clients were being difficult or challenging he would remind himself that this may be their way of coping with a life they never dreamed of or wanted. He would say to others, that if they thought someone was being unreasonable… change places with them. Jerry was able to retire at an early age and was looking to find some activity that would satisfactorily keep him occupied. He saw an ad in the newspaper for Volleyball referees and applied. Once he was officiating Volleyball, he looked for the next opportunity. Having played basketball most of his life, he decided that being a basketball referee was the next the best opportunity… refereeing kept him active and occupied. And then came that first summer being retired…. Baseball Season! The next thing you knew Jerry had become a Baseball Umpire. It was clear from the first day, that Umpire was what Jerry had been born to do. Never had his family seen him as happy as he was when Umpiring ANY level baseball game. As time went on, Jerry and his wife, Barbara began noticing the impact of the damp and cold of Washington weather on their ability to move freely and without pain. During one of their frequent visits to Las Vegas, they made the sudden and unexpected decision to retire to Las Vegas. In 5 days, they located and purchased a townhome near Summerlin. Why you ask? It is simple - in Las Vegas Jerry could umpire Baseball ten months out of the year and almost never get rained out. As a vacation destination, Las Vegas draws many Handball players and Tournaments and a high level of skill creating a daily challenge for Jerry… he was ecstatic. And then to top it off, in Las Vegas, Jerry was closer in proximity to those UW conference opponents in Arizona, California, Utah. How much better could it be? Retirement life included many travel opportunities. Just this past year alone, Jerry traveled to Maui, Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York City, and with the UW Alumni Association on a European Riverboat cruise! Amsterdam to Budapest. Jerry once said that he was never going to grow up. At the time it was thought that he meant he was never going to grow old. He really did mean that he was never going to grow up; unfortunately, he forgot to tell his body not to grow old. At the age of 71, Jerry continued to push his body to its limits, as if he were 25 years old. His daily existence was fairly routine - handball in the morning at LVAC, being a baseball umpire in the evenings and on weekends with 5-6 games each day. And finally, at 12:42 a.m., on April 6, 2018, his heart finally told him to stop and rest.


  • Edward John Ruth, Father
  • Adele Ruth, Mother
  • Barbara J Ruth, Wife
  • J. Wendy (Brandon) Austin, Daughter
  • Farron Austin, Grandson
  • Brent (Justin) Williams-Ruth, Son
  • Alfred Ruth, Brother
  • Terry Ruth, Brother


  • Celebration of Life Monday, May 7, 2018
  • Reception Monday, May 7, 2018
  • Celebration of Life and Reception Friday, June 8, 2018

Jerry Wayne Ruth

have a memory or condolence to add?

dean grimbly

June 8, 2018

Barbara, Wendy and Brent
I met Jerry for the first time playing against him in a handball tournament. We bonded immediately sharing our love of handball and the Huskies. I thought I had a lot of U-dub gear and pride until I picked him up at his Gig Harbor house for the first time. I quickly realized I was outclassed starting with the door mat, banners, statues, pictures, autographs, helmets, towels and more. We went to several Husky Football games and proudly displaying their family’s large banner cheered on the team and followed up games with play by play phone conversations.
Jerry was recruited to play on the Bremerton Handball team and he fit right in with the gang helping us win many league championships. I also enjoyed a great family vacation in Tahoe. We cruised the lake in a speed boat, golfed, and played handball at 10,000 feet, tennis and even a game of basketball with Wendy sinking a jumper to win the game for us. There were fun times at the beach where I think the water police are still trying to find the kid racing around the lake on the red Kawasaki Jet Ski. Do you remember that kid, Brent? You truly let me be part of the family and even let each of the kids ride with me sharing stories and trying to teach me how to sing Phantom of the Opera songs. Jerry, I will miss the long phone conversations we had (some several hours) and your larger than life magnanimous personality that will fondly live on forever with me.

Aino Jarvits

May 23, 2018

Jerry and I were friends of long standing, which began at the working place at Tacoma General Hospital and continued following retirement. Jerry had a "good-mind" as anyone can attest to! One could always depend on sound advice from him if the situation called for it at work. He was an excellent Pharmacist as anyone can confirm! Jerry understood sick people and their special needs and helped many during his career.

I appreciated Jerry's high intellect as he was well-read and informed. One could always count on an interesting conversation with him on various subjects! He was always willing to accept an opposing viewpoint and opinion. I always appreciated "being able to be myself" in his presence. I enjoyed our visits, our trips to the "Casino", his interest in music (Broadway and some classical music), his ability to play the organ and piano, his ability in sports and his interest in politics. I found him to be "an interesting man".

Jerry, if there is a hand-ball or basket ball court in "Heaven", show them how the game is played! Please give me a helping hand at the "Casino". I have 2 others helping me, but 3 is better than 2.

Many Condolences to Barbara and family. Jerry you will always remain in my thoughts.

Sincerely, Aino Jarivts-Orlando

Robert Blake

May 15, 2018

My name is Robert C Blake and I worked with Jerry on last Saturday. My condolences to you and your family and I will be praying for you. I truly enjoyed working with Jerry because he was always up beat as well as a joy to work with.
He will truly be missed.

Avery Finer

May 15, 2018

Hi Barbara, I believe we met once my name is Avery Finver. Jerry and I worked together many times over the last several years. He was the only umpire I really considered by partner. He was a great friend. I always had fun when I umpired with him. I always looked forward to games when I saw his name show up. I looked forward to catching up with him on his handball, travel or just what was going on in the umpire community. I want you to know that he was, in my opinion, the best umpire I worked with and the best person I spent time with since I move to Las Vegas. I will miss him. If there is anything you need please let me know.

Charle Davis

May 14, 2018

Dear Barbara,
I was devastated to hear the news about Jerry. He was one of the first people I met when I came to Tacoma, and, of course, it was on the basketball court. Jerry was a legend in the Tacoma YMCA, but it was his enthusiasm that I remember the most. He was at the Y so often, it seemed he worked there, but I know it was because he loved being around "the guys," always looking for a game. I know he is still playing and looking for the next game.

On behalf of all of us at the Y who knew Jerry and loved his energy for life, please except our deepest love and sympathies. You and Jerry, as well as your entire family, are i our prayers. His legacy will live on in the Y.

Peace be with you

Charlie Davis
President and CEO
YMCA Pierce County

Bryan French

May 13, 2018

Hello my name is Bryan i was a really close friend of jerry's, and i can't really express how devastated I am hearing this news he was such a wonderful guy the world won't be the same without him I'm telling you he was one cool dude I'm sorry for your loss thank you for letting me know. I plan on being there. Sincerely, Bryan French on behalf of ArbiterSports

May 13, 2018

Jerry started with Vegas Valley in January of 2014, moving here after decades of umpire experience in Washington state. He was a wealth of knowledge for us, providing insight as to how baseball operations were done in other states, and how it compares to Nevada. Jerry was one of those umpires who truly umpired for the love of the sport and the kids playing. He will be dearly missed.

Vegas Valley Baseball Staff

Matt Creaser

May 13, 2018

I got a call earlier today that you had passed away. I just spent the last couple hours rereading all of our old email exchanges. Looks like it had been a couple years since we last chatted. I’m sorry about that. You were always so great at checking in on me and how things were going on my end. It’s weird cause just the other day I said to myself I wonder what Jerry is up to. I just bought a 31’ trailer and thought I remembered you owning a storage lot off meridian to park them at. I wish I had reached out. It’s a little overwhelming so far.

I just wanted you to know how much I appreciated working with you and knowing you. We had many discussions of the mentality and qualities that made for good officials. You were the best. Coaches and players loved you.
You were an excellent mentor to newer officials.
I loved your straight forward no bs attitude.

I’m sorry I never made it down to Vegas to catch up. We first me I just had one young son. Last time we talked I had child number 3 on the way.
Last year we moved further south into graham. Bigger house with more yard than the house you came to in Puyallup.

I hope that you are able to find good handball games in heaven. I know you will definitely work your way over to the ball field or the basketball courts as well.

Rest In Peace Jerry.

Thank you for being such a great friend to me.

You will be truly missed.

Matt Creaser

Jill Mosley Morse

May 12, 2018

Brent Williams-Ruth, Wendy, Barbara, you three are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m in shock, just as I’m sure you are. I have fond memories of Jerry. My favorite was when I went to my first college football game. We sat on the 50 yard line right behind the student section. Wendy and I laughed so hard at all the students- so much fun! I also loved going to the YMCA with you guys. There are so many other memories with all of you. ❤️Love to you three!

Bryan French

May 12, 2018

Hello my name is Bryan i was a really close friend of jerry's, and i can't really express how devastated I am hearing this news he was such a wonderful guy the world won't be the same without him I'm telling you he was one cool dude I'm sorry for your loss thank you for letting me know. I plan on being there.