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Ruth A. Gimple, who became a familiar figure to Toledo play-goers as, behind the scenes, she juggled her long-held interest in acting and the theater with a full-time job, died Aug. 21 in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. She was 85.
She had lived in assisted living at Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek from 2005 until March, when she was moved to skilled care after a fall. Most recently, she developed complications from a leg injury, her brother, James, said.
Miss Gimple, formerly of West Toledo, retired in the early 1990s as a secretary to the country circulation managers of The Blade, where she was employed for 41 years. She was easy to get along with — and her theater background shone through, recalled Hildagarde Condon, a retired supervisor of customer service and circulation.
“When she talked, she still had the acting in her,” Miss Condon said.
Paul Gold, a retired circulation district manager, said: “She was a very dynamic person. She was extremely sensitive to people’s feelings.”
Stage and film enchanted Miss Gimple as a child. Later she went to local productions and attended the Toledo stops by national touring companies, when not visiting theaters in Detroit, Chicago, and New York.
In 1960, Miss Gimple became a member of the permanent corps of Playhouse in the Park, a local company with a summer series at the Toledo Zoo and a winter chamber series at its Jefferson Avenue headquarters.
During one summer, Miss Gimple had parts in several productions, three of which were in rehearsal at the same time.
After a day at work, she told The Blade in 1963, she hurried to the zoo for rehearsal; took a break for a quick meal, and then went on stage for that night’s scheduled production.
“She used to work very hard,” her brother recalled.
A favorite role was the demanding portrayal of Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, at the Toledo Repertoire Little Theater, which Blade staff writer Lee Z. Steele hailed as a tribute to her acting skill and physical endurance. In 1969, Miss Gimple received the Rep’s Hammy — a large white china pig — as best supporting actress for her role in Any Wednesday.
After a decade, she stepped away from the spotlight and the grueling schedule.
She was born May 30, 1928, in Toledo to Eva and Arnold Gimple. She was a graduate of Notre Dame Academy.
She had been a lector at St. Pius X Church.
Miss Gimple served as a caregiver to her siblings, Thelma Klein and John Gimple, until their deaths.
Surviving is her brother, James Gimple.
At her request, Miss Gimple’s body was donated to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.
A memorial Mass is set for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 6 in St. Pius X Church.
The family suggests tributes to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis; St. Pius X Church, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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