MILLBURY - Ruth E. Welling, 80, a retired cake decorator who championed a variety of community causes, from starting a senior citizens center and opening a park to making Wood County's Lake Township into a city, died Monday in St. Charles Mercy Medical Center of an apparent heart attack.
She was a leader in the committee that in 1998 organized the first Lake Township Days as an annual celebration of township unity. She was co-chairman of a study committee that led to the creation of the Northeast Wood County Senior Center.
"It's good for people to get out and meet other people and have a social period in their life," Mrs. Welling told The Blade in 2001.
Her efforts helped create Friendship Park on Cummings Road and, afterward, the annual summertime Music in the Park series there.
"She was an organizer and knew how to motivate people," said her son, Richard, a township trustee, who ran for office at his mother's urging.
She had a way of making people feel important, her sister Marge Brown said.
"Once she did that, she won them over," said Mrs. Brown, who is mayor of Oregon. "She was one of a kind."
But Mrs. Welling did not seek credit. "No one knew Ruthie was behind it all," her sister said. "She saw a need out there and [said], 'Let's work on it.'•"
Their mother, Mildred TenEyck, was a school teacher and Oregon community leader. Their mother also was on the board of what is now the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, which named its TenEyck Towers housing development after her.
About three years ago, she took part in a drive to consolidate Millbury, Walbridge, and the township into a single city. No merger resulted, but her research convinced her "it was the right way to go," her son said.
Mrs. Welling was a former chairman of the township's land use committee.
She grew up in the former Oregon Township and was a 1943 graduate of Clay High School.
She baked and decorated cakes at the former Tiedtke's department store in downtown Toledo. She retired in 1972 and continued a successful cake business until about five years ago from her Lemoyne Road home.
Mrs. Welling was a founding member of the Parent Teacher Association in the Lake Local Schools. She helped begin the Tiedtke's Old Timers group.
She was a 50-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary.
She and her husband, Harold, married Oct. 12, 1948. He died Feb. 23, 1993.
Surviving are her sons, Richard and Harold J., Jr.; brothers, John and Paul TenEyck; sisters, Mary Catherine Loch, Madonna Henderson, and Marge Brown, and two grandsons.
Services will be at 11 a.m. today in St. Jerome Church, Walbridge, of which she was a member. Arrangements are by the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Walbridge. The family suggests tributes to Lake Township Parks.