Seventy Years and Counting – Part II

Ed & Ruth Schwaegerle

Ed & Ruth Schwaegerle

Our story about Kendal residents that have celebrated their 70th anniversaries continues with Ed and Ruth.

Both raised in Cincinnati, Ed and Ruth met when they were both co-presidents of their respective church youth groups, and they were immediately attracted to each other. They recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. 

It was a challenging time financially for Ed’s family, so paying his college tuition was out of the question. Ed was determined to continue his education, and upon hearing of a local scholarship, he applied. He was surprised and delighted to hear he had won the one hundred dollar scholarship. This money paid for his freshman year at the University of Cincinnati, and then he completed his degree with the school’s work-study program, which gave him the opportunity to earn money for his tuition. He graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1942.

That same year Ruth and Ed were married and moved to Elyria, Ohio, where Ed worked for B.F. Goodrich Chemical Co. in Avon Lake. He was Director of Plastic Research and Development, and after thirty-four years took early retirement. Ed shared that back in 1942 he had two goals: to earn fifty dollars a week and to live to the ripe old age of eighty! He’s accomplished both goals.

During this time, Ruth raised their son and immersed herself in volunteer work in their church and the community. At age 40, she returned to school at Baldwin Wallace to study art, and continued painting and needlework projects. A professional volunteer, Ruth continued giving time to church, hospital, the League of Women Voters, and the Oberlin Heritage Center. Ed has also been active in church work, professional societies and retirement planning, but he reminds you that Ruth is the professional! They share a love of classical music, opera and travel.

They loved the outdoors and traveled one million miles by auto throughout the United States and Canada, camping and visiting mountainous areas and national parks. This love of the outdoors may have influenced their son, as he is a Professor of Botany.

Ruth has been a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) for forty years, and while Ed belongs to First Church in Oberlin, he supports and lives by Quaker values. Ed described how in the early days of the Quaker Meeting in Oberlin, it was attended mostly by Oberlin College students, who were gone after graduation, but Ruth kept it going and it now has a healthy membership from town and college. Ed was recruited by a member of the group, who were planting the seeds for a Kendal community in Oberlin and, as a result, he and Ruth were also founding members of this community.

As to their longevity and lasting marriage, they both agree they had loving families that instilled good values in them. Ed said that opposites attract, and that his functionality to Ruth’s aesthetic view, compliment each other. Both say their lives together have been good and happy. They have loved being part of Kendal from the beginning. Asked if there was anything they would have changed in their lives…the answer was a unanimous, “we wouldn’t change a thing!”

Both couples agreed that their participation in the founding of Kendal was meaningful to them and to future generations. With seventy years of marriage, and nearly two decades of those years at Kendal, they feel their lives have been full. Who would have guessed when they chose Kendal, that they would share this many years together. Such a decision may have reduced the stress that sometimes accompanies later years, by providing the peace of mind knowing their needs will be met.