Ruth Lois Westerman
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Ruth Lois Westerman

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WESTERMAN: Ruth Lois, 89, passed away on September 4, 2018. Ruth was a Pittsburgher by birthright, by disposition and by choice, but, through a quirk of history, was born in Detroit on April 1, 1929, to her loving parents Max and Belle Levy. She returned to Pittsburgh as an infant and grew up on Coltart Street in Oakland, in a duplex with her parents and her grandfather Joseph Levin, who was the Cantor of Tree of Life Congregation, and her beloved aunt and uncle, Libbie and Samuel Rosenberg, who pointed her toward a life of art, culture and beauty. For more than 70 years, Ruth cultivated an appreciation for health and wellness first as a gym and health teacher at Wightman School and through modern dance in Pittsburgh. Ruth was truly ahead of her time as Modern Dance emerged over time as an art form. She took classes at the Genevieve Jones Dance Studio in Squirrel Hill starting at the age of four, and, after she briefly abandoned dance as an adolescent, returned to dance with a passion as a teenager, starting with a series of trips to study in New York City and a summer at the University of Wisconsin, to advance her studies under the world renown Martha Graham. She attended, and performed at, Schenley High School, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

After graduating from Pitt, she went on to teach physical education and health at Wightman School. Afterwards, she taught modern dance at the Contemporary Dance Association, the Arts & Crafts Center of Pittsburgh and Dance Alloy Theater; sat on the board for many years of the Pittsburgh Dance Council; and developed a movement program for senior citizens named by her son Mark, Silver Motion. Ruth brought love, vitality and determination to every undertaking with her passions being dance, gardening, shopping, traveling the world and spending time with family. If a worthwhile endeavor was beyond her capacities, she marshaled others to her cause, be it her efforts to preserve the artistic legacy of her uncle Sam Rosenberg through a book and video, or a book to celebrate the life of her friend Rabbi Walter Jacob. Ruth married her first love Robert C. Westerman (Bob). Bob shared and supported Ruth’s love of family helping to raise their three children, Jeff who lives in Los Angeles, Mark, living in Maryland, and recently deceased Diane Reichblum, who each took Ruth’s dance class for children, while growing up. Although Bob never took Ruth’s class, she encouraged him to go with her to Arthur Murray where they learned to dance together so they could be more like their life-long friends Emil and Barbara Trellis. Bob passed away in 1984, at the age of 62. Years after Bob’s passing, Ruth married J. Robert Myers with whom she has lived and travelled for over 20 years. Ruth inherited a love of family from her parents and grandparents and bequeathed it to her children and 7 grandchildren Matt, Beth, Jamie, Sara and Sam Westerman, and Rachel and Justin Reichblum and her newly minted through marriage to Rachel, 8th grandchild, Dan Rosenzweig. While dance and the arts played a major role in her life, Ruth’s true love was always her family first and foremost, followed closely by her garden. Ruth lived a full and joyous life and was an inspiration to all she met. Services were held at Rodef Shalom Congregation. Donations are suggested to the Rodef Shalom Congregation Biblical Botanical Garden; the Pittsburgh Dance Council; or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc. www.schugar.com

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