September 20, 1924 – November 20, 2019
Ruth Tobias, known to many by her professional name of Ruth Marion, died peacefully at her home at The Legacy of Santa Fe on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019, at the age of 95. She was married for over 50 years to fellow musician Burt Tobias. She was born Marian Ruth Hardtke in Arlington Heights, IL, in 1924 and attended Arlington Heights HS, and Lindenwood College in St. Charles, MO. During the war, she worked at Douglas Aircraft, where she was introduced to the 12-piece band that played at the plant during long lunch hours for the workers. Soon she joined their band and began her long professional singing career, working with all the well-known band leaders in Chicago. From 1946-48, she sang with the band at Wrigley Field, behind home plate, every inning! She met Chicago trumpet player Burt Tobias at the French Room of the Drake Hotel in 1947, and they were married in 1948. They had two daughters, Carole and Wendy, and moved to Lincolnwood, IL, in 1958. Their life together was a perfect balance of music and family. In the 60’s, the heyday of women’s trios, Ruth learned to play the bass and began her own trio, Ruth Marion and her Escorts. Then in 1970, Ruth was asked to run for office as an Executive Board Member of the Chicago Federation of Musicians Union and won a position on the Examining Board, thus being the first woman on the board! Later, she was elected as Union Delegate. She retired from the board in 2004. In 1984, she began writing columns for the Intermezzo, the CFM magazine, and finally wrote her last column in 2016 after 32 years. Ruth retired to Phoenix in 2013, then moved to Santa Fe in 2015, where she loved the sun, the mountains, and especially the small jazz clubs around Santa Fe. Throughout her life, Ruth was a huge advocate for human rights and women’s rights. She volunteered with NAES College (Native American Educational Services) and the Frank Lloyd Wright Society. After Katrina, Ruth headed a fundraising project to support musicians in New Orleans Women in Music and was a huge supporter of Southern Poverty Law and Public Television. Ruth is survived by her sisters, Carol Hardtke Herriman and Mimi Hardtke Pantelides (Socrates), daughters, Carole Eddington (Steve) and Wendy Jordan (Roger Ayres,) grandchildren, Lane Eddington DiBlasi (Shawn), Dan Eddington (Alison,) and Sarah Jordan Roe (Steven,) and four greatgrandchildren, Londyn and Atlas Eddington, and Connor and Olivia Roe. In her 95 years, Ruth has touched so many lives and hearts, that she is being remembered and celebrated both in Chicago and Santa Fe. Joyously welcomed into the big band in the sky, her beautiful physical presence will be greatly missed.
- Life Celebration Sunday, December 8, 2019
December 7, 2019
Burt and Marion were such close friends with my parents I called them “Aunt and Uncle”. The Tobias' family is interwoven into my family’s history with fond memories of birthday celebrations, family vacations, and a bond of friendship that endured a lifetime. On behalf of the Bernard Saber Family, our sincere condolences to Carole, Wendy, their extended families, and all who had the good fortune to have known this remarkable, strong, and caring woman - my “Aunt" Marion.
December 5, 2019
I didn't know Ruth, but I knew she was special from conversations with Carole.
Wishing you all love and light during this time of sadness . So sorry for your loss. Love, Kim