Messages and Stories for Lou

Last updated:  06/05/2007


I knew Ruth in the early 60's and the 70's and remember all the good times we had at the Tampa Skydivers. If Skydiving wasn't exciting or dangerous enough in those days, Ruth, Sonny Franks and Bob Mallott seemed to come up some sort of thing like a trapeze hanging under the jump plane so you could crawl down and hang by your legs before letting go to open your parachute. There were many more jumps where strange objects  were passed in freefall. Ruth was also our mentor when it came to learning Scuba. We all went through her mini course and her main rules, that would keep you from killing yourself.  Learn to clear your mask, don't come up faster the your bubbles, learn to buddy breath, don't hold your breath. Guess they worked because we are still here.
I was the lucky one to be an alternate on a 4 way skydive team with my wife Donna, Ruth, Connie Moore, and Mary Donnen. We called the team 4 Roses and a Thorn. Pretty original huh. We didn't win anything, but had fun.
Even though we hadn't seen Ruth in some time, we will always remember the good times we had. She was a great lady, with this smile and attitude that would really win you over.
Donna and I are happy to have known her, and only wish we would have made more of an effort to see her in the past years. Let that be a lesson to all of us. Don't ever say " I wish I would have", or " Someday I'll"  be in your vocabulary. Life is to short.
Ski and Donna Chmielewski



We met Ruth a couple of years ago after moving from Wisconsin to the Keys.  Lou and Mike were working at Ocean Divers together when I was introduced to Ruth.  She was so sweet and friendly and made me feel like I had found a wonderful new friend.  I enjoyed every minute of being with her.

A few months ago Both Lou and Mike were working on a Sunday.  I called and invited Ruth over to spend time at the pool and the beach.  Her response was, “I’ll be over soon, but don’t sit around much.”  She arrived with her noodle for the pool and insisted that she do her water exercises instead of relaxing by the pool reading a book or chatting.  Every minute we were in the pool, she was jumping and thumping with that noodle.  At the beach, I pulled down the ocean kayak and took it out in the Bay for a few laps.  Ruth watched with great interest.  As I returned to the beach, I asked her if she would like to take out the kayak.  She hesitated a moment and then replied that she had never been in a kayak, but was willing to give it a try.  In a matter of moments, she was a pro with that never-ending smile on her face.  That was the Ruth I knew – always ready for a new adventure.

 Mike and I agree that we have never known a woman like her and will miss her very much.

 Patsy & Mike Lederer



The stories Rusty and I could tell. Man o’ man, there is just not enough space to tell all the stories.

But one of our favorite stories about Ruth is that a few years back when Rusty was working for American Eagle, lobster mini season was coming up and Rusty wanted the time off of work so he could catch all the lobster up. At that time. Lou was on reserve at work. So, Rusty asked for lobster mini season off and his Chief Pilot said no problem. The next thing Rusty knew was that Ruth called and wanted to know if Rusty wanted to go lobstering with her for mini season because American Eagle had just called Lou and he had to go to work because some Captain had called in for time off for mini lobster season. So the out come of this story is ………….  Lou had to go to work to cover Rusty’s trip and Rusty went lobstering with Lou’s wife!  And Ruth and Rusty caught the lobster up! That story always made Ruth laugh so hard that she could not stop laughing.

 Rusty and I will miss her dearly. She was more than a friend. She was family. My big sister. We will miss her smile, laugh, stories, her company, her guidance, her wisdom, her advice and just being around her.

 Peace my friend. Spread your wings and soar high.

Lor Hattery & Rusty Reddoch



I met Ruth in 1969 as a novice Parachutist at Zephrhills Fl. Back then you didn't find many women Skydivers! She was full of energy, and eager to help me learn this new sport. Little did I know she would be my friend for the next 38 years. We Skydived, Boated, Fished, and Scuba Dived together for many years. We were in many tough situations, Parachute malfunctions, Boats taking on water, and a few severe Thunderstorms at Sea. Ruth always kept a cool head, and we managed to survive it all. She married my best friend Lou, I was best Man at the wedding. Lou got a transfer to Miami to fly For American Eagle, and they moved to Key Largo. Ruth loved the water so very much, they found a little patch of Reef they called their own, Fandance. One of those spots, untouched, Gods creation. I am a better person for having known Her, We will miss you Ruth.
Your Friend
Mike Patterson


In the brief time we knew Ruth and Lou, we knew there was something
special about her. They lived across the canal from us before they
bought there home and we made a few dive trips which were always
enjoyable. Not until we read the messages about her, did we realize how
great she was. We are so grateful for the assistance she provided
during our medical challenges, and we shall never forget. We consider
ourselves so fortunate to have shared a little of her life.
Chuck and Maria Hayes



Ruth attended my water aerobic classes for many years and enjoyed all our get-togethers both in the pool exercising and socializing, happy hours and lunches out with the group.

The highlight was a water aerobics cruise where I taught the classes on the ship. Yes, Ruth was on board, and she enjoyed every minute. We all had so much fun.

We'll miss her so much as she was such a sincere, positive giving person who just loved people and life, always with a smile.

I have just had hip replacement and she was looking forward to helping me out in any way she could. She said Sue, you will breeze through the surgery and I did. Ruth will always be in our thoughts.

Love always,

Sue Houston and the Noodlettes



We will all miss Ruth, but aren't we all so fortunate to have had her touch our lives?  For me and Krista, her influence will be forever a part of everything we do.

While I didn't know Ruth as a jumper (this is where Louie and I met), Ruth and Louie introduced us to the ocean, and yes we will be forever greatful.  As a static line is to jumping and as a solo pilot is to flying, this is our level with the sea. But Ruth and Louie have shown us what a fantastic world the ocean is and we shall continue on thanks to you guys.

Everytime we get in the water, drink a rum and coke, or go make that skydive every now and then, I will think of Ruth and hope that I can appreciate life as much as she did.  She lived her life to the fullest.

Thank you Ruth,
Frankie Pate



When I first met Ruth, I had just moved to the "Magic Forest".  She was a multiple world record holder in sky diving and had a cast on her wrist, rather than loose her grip in a formation. 

The first time I had the privilege of jumping with her, I was supposed to follow Rebecca out with Ruth the last out, or so I thought.  The next thing I know I had been thrown back against the rear bulkhead in an empty airplane.  Due to my inexperience,  I guess I was a little too slow for Ruth.  Of course, I was not a part of the formation on that trip.  Man, was she fast!!

For the next 30 years, she still apologized for that day. 

She excelled in all that she did, including being a most beloved friend in my life. 

We will all miss her dearly.

Chip McCloskey


I get little snippet memory flashes jumping with Ruth after I left the Air Force and started college.

 I remember Ruth could always "play to the camera." Whenever I or anyone was going to grab a candid shot, Ruth would know when to flash her eyes and her smile at the exact moment the shutter clicked.

 Ruth was going to compete in the Nationals one year, 66 or 67, and I had just leaned a trick from Gary Dupuis on a Capewell modification that would make cutaways almost instant, if needed. The mod involved filing off the little tips on the squeezable Capewell lock. With that change the male Capewell fittings were only held in place by the safety cover. Once the safety covers were pulled down all that was needed was a quick flip of your thumbs and the risers were released. Ruth thought that was just super nifty. So I modified her rig and off she went. The PCA promptly grounded her rig and she had to borrow gear to compete. I probably cost her first place in the women's division.

 We got rained out one Saturday at Z-hills and we all decided the drink the afternoon away in the old TSD club house. Ruth was very concerned about me driving home and did her best to convince me to stay there and sleep it off. She followed me all the way to my car trying to reason with me. But NO! I was a skydiver and I could do anything. I totaled my 64 1/2 Mustang on Morris Bridge Road.

 I miss her smile, her flashing eyes, her warmth and caring for others, and I miss her laugh.

Lifted on His wings,
Ron Schott



Kurt & I were privileged to spend time with Ruth on the last two days of her life.  That's not what I'm thinking about now, though.  I'm thinking about the last day that I spent with Ruth on the water.  It was last September.... we had come down for our annual lobster hunt with Ruth & Lou.  It was a dive routine the four of us had practiced countless times before over the last 18 years, and that I expected to repeat in the future.  We had finished two dives up north of the statue in the Key Largo marine sanctuary, a long run from their house.  We had a bag full of bugs, and 1000 lbs of air left in our tanks.  We made a final stop at Rumpson's Glory Mound, a pretty coral mound in 25 ft. of water.  I blew through the rest of my tank in 15 minutes, and got back on the boat, along with Kurt & Lou.  Ruth was still down there though, as usual.... the woman had the best air  consumption of anyone I had ever known.  So I put on my mask & snorkel and watched her while floating on the surface, as she tickled out that one last lobster below me.  It was a sunny afternoon, the seas were warm & calm, and all was right with the world.  It never occurred to me that it would be our last day on the water together.

I will miss you, my dear friend.

Farrell Johnson


As I sit here in my home in Sebastian I can hardly believe that Ruth is no longer with us!! She was a wonderful person that cared deeply for everyone around her.  Ruth was a pillar of strength during a rough period for my husband and the other four teachers that were involved with a life altering situation. Lou please know that if there is anything that Lynn or I can do for you all you have to do is ask.

A story that comes to mind that sums up how full of life Ruth was... Was when she choose a leopard print teddy for me to wear!! Yup, she was full of love and life.  I will miss her tremendously. 
All our love Beth Loomis and Lynn Carlsen


Dear Family and Friends,
   I was one of the lucky ones that came to know Ruth early in my teaching career at Robles here in Tampa.  We taught many years together and were in "next door" classrooms the last several years of her teaching here.  What an honor. 
   She was a first rate teacher, admired by all....not a child went through her room without her making an impact on their life.  She took on the task, in a not so easy school, with determination, tenacity and a kind and soft spoken demeanor.
   Not only that, she had a grand sense of humor which always boosted everyone's morale.  Many a funny story was told in those halls and on the playground during recess. 
   We kept up through email the last 15 years after she and Lou moved down to Key Largo.  She seemed to have found "paradise" living on the water with Lou.
   Once again, an advocate of  all that is good, she took on many tasks with her wonderful and giving spirit.  She truly left an enduring mark on all that knew her. 
   I so admire her...what a great gal.
   I send you all loving and gentle thoughts of this remarkable woman.
Charlotte Encinares