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Published: Sunday, 10/7/2001

Ex-teacher was lifelong learner

DEFIANCE - Ruth O. Rohrs, a former high school teacher who pursued intellectual interests while caring for her children and being a support to her husband's business and political careers, died from complications of cancer and Alzheimer's disease Wednesday in Paradise Oaks Quality Care Center, Cloverdale, Ohio. She was 83.

She lived in the care center about five years, her daughter Judy Scott said.

Mrs. Rohrs was a graduate of Bowling Green State University, where she was an English major and editor of the school yearbook. She decided to use her degree by becoming a teacher.

“At that time, you could teach if you were a male or an unmarried woman,” her daughter said. Mrs. Rohrs, then engaged to John T. Rohrs II, left her ring at home for the job interview.

She taught and was yearbook adviser at the former Deshler High School for a year. She and her husband married Aug. 24, 1941, and she left teaching behind.

Still, she emphasized education at home, and her daughters went into education-related careers: The late Nancy Newlove was an English teacher at Bowling Green High School; Peggy Dorta is an elementary school teacher in Vermont, and daughter Sue Brown was a speech and hearing therapist, said Mrs. Scott, a special education teacher at Defiance High School.

Mrs. Rohrs was a member of the Salmagundi Club, a literary group in which members gave reports on authors, artists, or a topic they'd researched.

“Keeping intellectually active, even though she didn't work outside the home, was important to her,” her daughter said.

Linda Brose, a longtime friend, said: “She was truly a lifelong learner.”

Mrs. Rohrs' husband, an accountant and medical clinic administrator, served 24 years on the Defiance board of education and was a former president of the Northwest Ohio School Board Association.

Born in San Jose, Calif., she grew up in Defiance and was a graduate of Defiance High School.

Mrs. Rohrs was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, Defiance, where she sang soprano in the choir and belonged to the United Methodist Women. She was a member of several church committees, including one in charge of adding an educational wing.

Her husband died Aug. 12, 2000.

Surviving are her son, John III; daughters, Sue Brown, Peggy Dorta, and Judy Scott, and 15 grandchildren.

The body will be in the Lawson-Roessner Mortuary, Defiance, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul United Methodist Church, Defiance.

The family requests tributes to the Alzheimer's Association, the church, or to a charity of the donor's choice.



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