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Published: Tuesday, 9/4/2012

Farm wife managed Gedert's Market

Ruth Gedert, 1918-2012

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ruth Gedert, who worked for decades on a family farm and managed Gedert's Market on Glendale Avenue, died at Lutheran Homes Society Wolf Creek on Saturday. She was 94.

Her son Rich Gedert said she died of old age.

"Her body was just basically shot," he said.

Mrs. Gedert, one of four children, was born in Toledo on July 30, 1918, to Pauline and Jacob Steiner, who immigrated from Germany.

They didn't drive, but they bought a car for their daughter when she was only 14 so she could take them wherever they might need to go.

"Back then you didn't need a driver's license," said her elder son, Paul Gedert, Jr.

He said that his father, Paul, Sr., was playing a gig with a square-dance band in 1935 when he met a teenaged Ruth Steiner.

"It was probably a chance meeting," Mr. Gedert said.

The two married within about a year, Rich Gedert said.

The newlyweds lived with Mrs. Gedert's parents on the family dairy farm, on Glendale Avenue in South Toledo, until the couple took over the 40 acres of land -- where they grew various fruits and vegetables and had about 20 cows.

The couple had three children -- Paul, Rich, and Sharon Gedert.

Their daughter, who had polio, died in 2006, at 62.

Paul Gedert said his mother took care of his sister her entire life.

The senior Paul Gedert died of a stroke in 1985 at age 72.

The farm was often buzzing with family and neighbors stopping by.

During the summer months, Mrs. Gedert's nieces and nephews would come for extended visits.

"She would help out whoever needed help," Rich Gedert said.

"Whether it was money or giving them vegetables or food, whatever. It didn't matter who it was."

With a crowd to feed, Mrs. Gedert learned quickly how to cook well.

"She loved to cook," Rich Gedert said.

"In the old days when the farm took many farm hands she had to cook for them all, so she was used to making huge meals."

She didn't have one specialty, but "it seemed like everything she made was pretty good," Paul Gedert, Jr., said.

Once she received a first-place award at the Lucas County fair for a banana cake, Rich Gedert said.

On another occasion, Mrs. Gedert won a cow-milking contest at the county fair, Paul Gedert, Jr., said.

If she wasn't cooking, running the market, or occasionally helping Paul Gedert, Jr., with his greenhouse, she might be found working in her huge flower garden, bowling, or with her canasta club, which met regularly for 50 years.

The last several years of Mrs. Gedert's life were spent at Wolf Creek.

While there, she dreamed of life on the farm -- sort of.

"She would have some really great dreams and would recount them to us," Rich Gedert said. "In one, she was still working on the farm and they ran out of sweet corn, so one of the local farmers, she called him, and said they needed sweet corn and they needed it right away. He agreed and she said, 'How are you going to get it here?' And he said, 'I'm going to email it.' "

Rich Gedert said his mother was never into technology, but her children and grandchildren were.

Mrs. Gedert is survived by her sons, Paul and Rich; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Coyle Funeral Home. Services are to be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Faith Lutheran Church.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.



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