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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2003

Volunteer became Red Cross director

FREMONT - Ruth B. Kaltenbach, a volunteer who became executive director of the American Red Cross office here, died Tuesday in Countryside Care Center here after a series of strokes. She was 89.

She lived in the care center for more than two years, her son, Gary, said.

Mrs. Kaltenbach, after many years as a homemaker, became a Red Cross volunteer in the early 1970s, shortly before the death of her husband, Earl. She later was hired as a secretary before her promotion to executive director of the office.

She was in charge of volunteer training. She coordinated lifeguard classes, and she oversaw the move into a new facility. Blood collection was the No. 1 priority, her son said.

“She was single, and I'm sure Mom never said no. She would jump and go,” her son said. “She just enjoyed being around people and helping people. She was a giver. She was not one to point a finger to herself and say, `Look at what I'm doing.'”

Mrs. Kaltenbach was adopted by a Fremont couple, Fred and Bessie Klegin, from a Cleveland orphan's home. Her father had a restaurant in Fremont, near the opera house, and Mrs. Kaltenbach told her children stories of the well-known people who passed through.

She was a graduate of Fremont High School, where she played basketball, and she attended Tiffin Business College. She became a secretary at Clauss Cutlery and Schaaf and Good Cutlery.

She was a secretary from the late 1930s until about 1943 at the ordnance works that later became the site of NASA's Plum Brook Research Station.

Mrs. Kaltenbach was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Fremont. She was a member of the St. Francis Guild of the church, as was her mother.

She and her husband, Earl, married June 27, 1936. He died Dec. 25, 1973.

Surviving are her son, Gary Kaltenbach; daughter, Judy Peto, and four grandchildren.

The body will be in Keller-Ochs-Koch Mortuary, Fremont, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Fremont.

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

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