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Published: 5/15/2010

Secretary rose to lead nonteaching staff at TPS

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ruth Good, 84, a career secretary and bookkeeper who, through promotion, was put in charge of all nonteaching staff in the Toledo Public Schools, died Monday at Foundation Park Care Center.

She had breathing and heart difficulties recently, her daughter, Amy, said. Stroke-related dementia prompted her move to the care center 4 1/2 years ago.

Mrs. Good of South Toledo retired in 1986 as director of nonteaching personnel for the Toledo school system. She was in charge of hiring "not just secretaries, but woodworkers, glaziers, custodians - the whole gamut of everybody who doesn't teach," her daughter said. "It's a big number of folks. It's a big responsibility. She loved it."

She held her own as she bargained on behalf of the Board of Education with unions, and she won the respect of labor leaders and union members.

"I always admired her because, while in grievances and negotiations, we could be forceful - each side forceful - and once we stepped out of the room, we could walk down the hall and be decent to each other," said Kate Cothern, a secretary in the administration building who was president of the union local that represented secretaries in the district.

"It was amazing that two people could have such differences and be friends on the outside," Mrs. Cothern said. "I always looked up to her and felt she was a wonderful person. You could talk to her about anything."

Mrs. Good had many duties, "but she managed to juggle them and did a fine job of everything," said Caroline Peters, retired secretary to Toledo superintendents of schools. "She was patient and intelligent and [made sure] all the details were finished properly and on time."

Born Oct. 20, 1925, to Edith and Mathias Fehlen, she grew up on Leybourn Avenue in West Toledo. She was a 1943 graduate of Central Catholic High School and attended what is now Stautzenberger College.

She met her husband at her first job: secretary and bookkeeper at the former Gallant Lumber and Coal Co. on Jackman Road. She later worked at a trucking company and the former Rossford Ordnance Depot. She became a secretary-bookkeeper at Longfellow School in the early 1960s and later at Start High School before she worked at the school board's offices.

"She kept the home really beautifully and was a beautiful cook, but she liked working outside the home. She liked the challenge of it," her daughter said. "To me, she was one of those ladies who went out and made it easier for the rest of us to move up in the work world."

She liked to entertain at home. She helped organize the annual July 4 neighborhood party when the family lived on Andora Drive. Into her late 70s, she took part in regular gatherings with high school and work friends.

"You had a good friend if Ruth was your friend," Mrs. Peters said.

Mrs. Good and her husband, Andrew, married Sept. 25, 1948. He died Dec. 20, 2005.

Surviving are her daughter, Amelia Good Hart; sister, Norma Kanary, and a grandson.

The body will be in the Coyle Funeral Home after 2 p.m. tomorrow, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Church, where she was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer's Association; the American Heart Association; St. Patrick of Heatherdowns, or a charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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