Jerry Wayne Ruth
November 19, 1946 – April 6, 2018
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
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.
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
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.
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.
May 14, 2018
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
President and CEO
YMCA Pierce County
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
firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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!
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.
May 12, 2018
Barbara and family - I am a fellow umpire of Jerry’s. I did not work with him a lot nor know him real well, but from what interaction I had with him I know he was a great guy. I found him to be a very warm person who genuinely cared about others and the kids he worked with. I wish I knew him better. He will be missed.
My deepest and most sincere condolences to you all of you. I will keep Jerry and you in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless and carry you through this most difficult time.
May 12, 2018
My name is Jacob Guthrie, and I, like you am devastated to know about the loss of my good friend Jerry. It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this email. Upon hearing this news, I was incredibly sad for the family. I umpired with Jerry for the past 2 years, and Jerry and I became good friends. His face would light up ball fields. He was so inclined to help his fellow umpire brethren, and I know he was a good man outside the baseball field. Helping so many people both while in WA and NV. I’m so sorry for your loss.
If the funeral is open to fellow umpires, I was curious if you could keep me in the “loop for the date on that. I My name is Jacob Guthrie, and I would love to support the family. I live in Reno currently, as I recently moved here. Jerry would be so proud. We talked about this new opportunity before a game at Centennial, a few Friday’s before I left, and he wouldn’t have been more proud to hear that I am doing well up here. I did not realize that parking lot would be the last time I speak with Jerry again. He was a great man and a great friend to all who knew him.
Harold Thompson (RED)
May 12, 2018
I have worked with Jerry several years amd will miss him.
May 9, 2018
Hi JERRY, I MET YOU A COUPLE OF TIMES WHILE I WAS VISITING WITH BARBARA.THEN SOMESTIMES I WOULD MEET YOU AT THE MAILBOX. I WILL KEEPUP THE ROUTINE, SEE YOU AT THE MAILBOX!!
Bean & Ginger Thun
May 8, 2018
Barbara and family,
We were very sorry to read of Jerry's sudden passing. Jerry was always a great conversationalist and an honest man. We always enjoyed having the Ruth family as neighbors....good people. Our condolencese to you and best wishes for the future.
Bean & Ginger Thun
May 7, 2018
I am sorry for your loss. Jerry was my instructor when I joined WWBUA 13 years ago. He was a wonderful instructor and I learned so much about the game because of his dedication. Even when your mom and dad moved to Las Vegas we would keep in touch through email. And the few times he was able to make it back to Washington we would meet for breakfast, and yes he would be wearing a Washington Huskies golf shirt. God Bless and GO DAWGS!
Bill and Alice Thorp
May 3, 2018
So sorry to hear of Jerry's passing. When we managed the park Bill and Jerry became pretty good friends while splitting and stacking wood together. Jerry mentioned what a good way to bond.. He will be missed
May 2, 2018
Jerry was a great umpire and a great man and we will truly miss him greatly here at Spanaway Lake High School and other baseball venues throughout Western Washington.
I will always treasure Jerry's passion for the game of baseball, his desire to help my baseball players grow into quality young men and his honest attitude towards myself and other coaches and teams in our area. He was someone who always pushed me to be a better coach and a better person and I will always value his friendship for these reasons.
April 27, 2018
I knew Jerry for many years. He was a member of my handball family. He played on the Bremerton Y handball league team for several years. Jerry would drive from Graham to Bremerton so every match was a long road trip for him. We were always a good team but most importantly we enjoyed each others company and had fun. Jerry fit right in with us and we were happy to have him on the team.
After Jerry and Barbara moved to Las Vegas Jackie and I were always invited to stay with them anytime we were in Vegas. We always enjoyed our visits and loved listening to Jerry's stories. Jerry asked me to be his partner in The Royal Flush Tournament and it became an annual event for us. Last year we were ousted early in the tournament so this year we were hoping for a better outcome. It looked doubtful as we fell behind 10-0 in the first game of the finals but then Jerry found his "wicked" serves which anyone who has played Jerry knows can be impossible to return. He carried us to a comeback win in that game and the next for the championship. I was lucky to have him as my partner and I will always cherish that memory of Jerry.
Sometimes we would be out of touch for extended periods but eventually I would get one of his emails. He would tell me what was happening in the Vegas handball scene, what the Huskies were doing and how his family was doing. It always brightened my day to get one of his emails. He would make me smile and laugh to myself.
Jerry was one of the genuine nice guys and a good friend to me. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. My heart goes out to Barbara and his family. I hope all of the good memories and knowing Jerry lived life to the maximum will help you all through the sorrow.
April 22, 2018
Jerry was a good friend through the handball group. He was always so friendly and had a great positive attitude. He was one of the few good players that would also play with the less talented. He was such a bright good man. We will all miss him. I am sorry for the family's loss.
April 18, 2018
Jerry and I spent considerable time, on hot Las Vegas days, in Elans' swimming pool and on the deck area just talking. Jerry had an excellent vocabulary and he had a wide range of knowledge. We found out we had each set chokers in different logging camps ( that's said to be the most dangerous job in the woods). He graduated from the University of Seattle and was an active Husky fan. I too was an active Husky fan despite graduating from Western Washington University in Bellingham. Our talks were very interesting and I believe we each learned from the other. I'll miss those talks terribly!
May he rest in peace.
April 16, 2018
My love and prayers to you, Barb, and your family. Barb and I were roommates in Nursing School. When all the nursing students realized there was a single pharmacist across the street, it was an interesting competition as to who could lure him into a date. Barb was the winner. Many years later when my son was playing a basketball game in middle school, who turned out to be the umpire/referee, but Jerry. It was delightful to visit with him during half time. I am sure it didn't affect the game outcome as Jerry was too honest and good at what he did. Barb and Jerry had many adventures that I heard about over the years. All of them very memorable. Take these fond memories and continue to share them with your grandchildren so they can remember the good man Jerry was.
April 15, 2018
My deepest sympathies to Jerry's family. Jerry and Barb were new friends to me, but we enjoyed the same things...travel, good food, concerts, and laughter. Thank you so much for including me in your lives. I will miss Jerry's grin and his wardrobe, which was about as colorful as my husband's! Don't be a stranger, Barb, as we have more events to attend. Sincerely, Janet Mastalir
April 12, 2018
My deepest condolences to the family of Jerry. I was fortunate to meet Jerry 5yrs ago & grateful for the dozens of times we worked together over this time. We had 4 games 2 weeks ago & he did it with ease & grace as he always has, it was our last time working together. He ALWAYS made me laugh & smile & had such a love and passion for the game, always teaching the kids something. I loved his huskie stories and all his life's experiences he shared with me- my heart was saddened when I found of his passing, though the family doesn't know me- I know of all of you through Jerry's stories. Thank you for that.
April 12, 2018
My sincerest thoughts and prayers to your family.
Jerry was a friend and fellow handball player. His serves were awesome! He was one year younger than me; hard to believe he departed us so soon.
Rest In Peace, my friend.
April 9, 2018
I remember when Farron (his grandson) and my son William were on the ymca swimteam and him n Barb would get to come to a meet.. He was always cheering them on and had a story or two to spare , whether at the swimmeets or gatherings at Wendy,Brandon n Farron's house the stories were the best.. I feel honored to have been able to get to know him and he will truly be missed.. My thoughts n prayers go out to his family!!!