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Published: Friday, 3/25/2005

Phone worker gave her time to homebound

LEIPSIC, Ohio - Ruth F. Cain, 88, former overnight operator for the local telephone company, died Tuesday in the Leipsic Retirement Village, where she had been for 13 months.

She had Parkinson's disease and was in declining health, her son Paul said.

Mrs. Cain retired in 1978 from the former United Telephone Co. She had been hired 20 years earlier by the then-Leipsic Community Telephone Co., and she worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.

Automatic dialing did not come to Leipsic until the late 1960s. Before then, operators connected calls through a switchboard. Out-of-town callers might only know a common last name, but she could identify the party they were looking for. "Everybody in town knew her," her son said.

A Leipsic native, she was enrolled at Ohio Northern University and wanted to become a teacher when her father died. She went to work to help the family.

She attended Stautenzberger College in Toledo and became a secretary at a factory in Lima, Ohio, riding the interurban daily between work and Leipsic.

For many years, she visited the homebound and did their weekly shopping, walking to the store and returning with her pull-cart full of groceries.

Mrs. Cain was a longtime member of Leipsic United Methodist Church.

She and her husband, Waldo Cain, married June 21, 1942. He died Dec. 28, 1998.

Surviving are her daughter, Susan Holko; sons, John and Paul; brother, Don Meyers, and six grandchildren.

The body will be in Love Mortuary, Leipsic, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Leipsic United Methodist Church, where the body will be after 10 a.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Edwards-Gamper Memorial Branch Library.

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