Ruth Oppenheim

Ruth S. Oppenheim

1921 - 2019

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Obituary of Ruth S. Oppenheim


JUNE 30, 1921 - JANUARY 24, 2019

June 30, 1921 was an exciting day for Deena [nee Spivak] and Herman G. Strauss [chief engineer on the Trail Ridge road]as their daughter was born in Denver, CO. A healthy, vibrant girl who was a delight to them as well as her grandparents: Charles and Jennie Spivak who were instrumental in establishing the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society [JCRS]. Ruth grew up in Denver, graduated from South High School and received her BA from University of Colorado.

In 1943 she met a fellow Temple Emanuel congruent and they married shortly before Nelson J. Oppenheim joined the Navy during WWII. They were married for 50 years and had 6 children who were the pride of Ruth's life.

Her philosophy was to teach children how to learn [vs. facts and figures] Years after she retired, her students would recognize her and thank her for giving them so much understanding!

After more than 30 years of teaching chemistry and math in Denver, CO, San Mateo, CA and Ridgewood, NJ, Ruth continued to be a volunteer mentor/tutor in nearby elementary and high schools. She also volunteered in the gift shop at National Jewish Hospital, read for the blind, and was honored in 1996 for her support in helping with the non-profit Senior Answers and Services. She loved being a docent at the Museum of Natural History and working at the Hall of Life. She was on the board for East High and South High Friends, and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. Ruth was an active volunteer with the Democratic party. The “Good Neighbor Award” in 2008 recognized her for being an outstanding Volunteer.

Ruth was a thoughtful, caring, humorous and articulate mother, teacher and friend to everyone she met. She was open-minded and open-hearted. She showed her six children, (Joy Browne, Jane Russo, Judy Hawkins, David Oppenheim, Alannah Sinclaire, and Daniel Oppenheim) how to live boldly, make music and how to put their hands in the dirt. Ruth’s grandchildren: Joe Russo, Patience Browne, Jenelle Hawkins, Jessica Moy, Jaime Brown, Mackenzie Dawes, and Nate Oppenheim have also seen first-hand how to paint big, colorful pictures, and hang them on their walls, enjoy all the seasons, and to dream big. Even Ruth’s 6 great-grandchildren (Evan, Ella, Ethan, Jacob, Elia, and Ryker) have giggled, been held and loved by their great-grandma, who epitomized the expression, “every day I wake up, it’s my birthday!”

Please join the family of Ruth S. Oppenheim at a Celebration of Life from 2 - 5 p.m. on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 1515 Madison, Denver, CO 80206. Questions or comments, please contact Jane O. Russo: 303-377-4444 or You're welcome to bring pictures, [preferably ribald] stories and memories of Ruth!