Heights Community Mourns Passing of Ruth Conrad
Conrad, a stalwart of our community and core participant at the
founding of RNA over 30 years ago, passed away this past spring at the
age of 86. Her family asked that we wait to share the news with
the community until now and we respected their wishes. We extend
our condolences to her daughter and former RNA board member Doris Brown
and her sister Carin as well as to Lenny Davis and all who loved Ruth.
Family friend and RNA board member Roger Heitmann and former RNA president Vito Brunetti share their remembrances below.
Tribute to Ruth Conrad by Roger Heitmann
old cliché behind every great man stands a strong woman was never more
true in describing the late Ruth Conrad. A native of Berlin, Germany,
she immigrated to the United States in 1948 after serving as a nurse in
the German army during World War II and after the war as an
administrative worker with the British air force during the famous
Berlin airlift. These experiences would have a lasting effect upon her
and she would speak of them often to friends and family.
of the late Theodore Conrad, Ruth proved to be a key asset to the famed
architectural model maker's thriving business in the 1950s through the
1970s as an able administrator and organizer.
She balanced the tasks at hand while also raising two daughters, Carin and Doris, in the family's historic home on Ogden Avenue.
involvement within the Jersey City Heights neighborhood began in
earnest with the struggle to head off the proposed plan of a residential
high rise building in Riverview Fisk Park in the early 1960s. Ruth was a
strong voice in the community among others that convinced the city to
abandon the project. We owe a lot to her and many others that preserved
the park as a passive open space so desperately needed by our population
a personal note, Ruth was one of my late mother's closest friends.
There were many good times shared when they both lived just a few doors
away from each other on Ogden in the 1950s. Both families were very
close and my father was one of Ted's closest friends and schoolmates
growing up. This continued after my mother passed away at a very early
age and Ruth became my adopted aunt during that difficult time.
passed away this past spring at the age of 86. She was cared for at
home by her daughter, Doris, her husband, Lenny, and Carin. Having had a
little experience myself recently, there is a lot to be said about the
caregiving and sacrifice that was involved during Ruth's slow decline.
Ruth was fortunate to have that type of care and constant attention for
in general need individuals like Ruth and Ted that are willing to take a
stand and make valid arguments that convince those that have political
power to see what is right for the community. Too often those in
political power measure things only in terms of dollars and cents
Heights misses them both and now it is up to new individuals and groups
that have stepped up to carry forward on behalf of the community. We
can only hope to fill that void.
Tribute to Ruth Conrad by Vito Brunetti
Eulogy to Ruth Conrad
I just found out that Ruth Conrad passed away recently.
The family did not want a public service or any mention of it in the papers.
respect the family's privacy but there needs to be some mention - an
acknowledgment - of this woman and what she accomplished as a resident
of our community.
she was the widow and spouse of Ted Conrad, one of the architect's of
the Riverview Neighborhood Association. As his legacy attests, he was
also responsible for the savings of the Brennan Courthouse, Liberty
State Park, and the Jersey City Loew's. Ruth was his support and
sounding board. His aide-de camp. She entertained the many residents and
community people that Ted would invite to his house and studio to
organize his campaigns. Yet, she was always full of thoughts and ideas
that contributed to the meeting.
was an incredibly vocal presence at RNA's meetings. She was also one of
the many speakers that demonstrated in front of the Council at City
Hall, protesting against a municipal policy of neglect or
she didn't agree with you, she would just plain come out tell you so.
She would educate you about her opinion. She was dogged in her advocacy.
Her anger (which I sometimes personally felt) would not last long
because on the street or at the next meeting, she would be talking to
you again as a neighbor and a friend.
was also a good neighbor, protecting not only her block but also
Riverview Park. She and Ted thought of that piece of open space as the
gem of the neighborhood. They would fight to the bitter end to make sure
that it would remain just that: a haven of peace and tranquility for
after Ted's death and when her health began to fail, she remained
active-- even if it was just to bear witness and lend her presence to an
issue with a sense of local history.
She was also a gracious lady whether she was socially entertaining neighbors at her house or as a guest to a holiday party.
raised a family of two daughters and three grandchildren who will
hopefully carry on the traditions of their wonderful parents.
will be missed, she and her generation of public-spirited individuals
that understood what community meant and how needs it to be protected.
Finally, I personally add my condolences to her family, her neighborhood and her city for a great lady.