Ruth Kliger passed away peacefully at the age of 101
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on July 2, 2020. She was born to Dr. Leon Schaeffer and
Helen Schwartz Schaeffer on October 28, 1918, at her
grandmother’s home in Purcell, Oklahoma.
Ruth and her younger sister, Naomi, grew up surrounded
by their grandparents’ large, warm, musical family. While
Ruth studied piano, she longed to play the harp. As a
young adult, Ruth saved for and purchased a concert
harp. She took lessons from Mildred Dilling, an acclaimed
harpist who had taught Harpo Marx.
Ruth graduated as salutatorian from Edmond High School
in 1937, and went on to study art at the University of
Oklahoma, where she excelled in calligraphy, sketching,
When Ruth was in her early twenties she enlisted in the
Women’s Army Corps (the WAC) . She served at Pine
Camp, New York, as secretary to Private Paul Kliger, a
jazz drummer. They were married three months later, on
August 15, 1943.
After the war, Ruth and Paul moved to ChampaignUrbana, Illinois,
to study social work at the University of Illinois. Between 1949 and
1952, they had two daughters, Carol and Lisa.
In 1956, the family moved to Minneapolis, where Paul and
Ruth studied social work at the University of Minnesota. In
the early 1960s, they settled in Evanston, Illinois. Ruth
maintained the home and raised their daughters, while
working full-time as as a teacher in the Head Start
program. She continued to study via correspondence, and
received her BA in Pre-Social Work from the University of
Minnesota. In 1997, Ruth and Paul moved to Louisville,
Colorado, to be near their daughter Carol. After Paul’s
death in 2000, Ruth moved to Moscow, Idaho to be near
her daughter Lisa and her granddaughters, Katie and
Ruth was an artist, writer, storyteller, harpist, seeker of
knowledge, humanitarian and staunch Democrat. She
continued to read the Sunday New York Times regularly.
Two days before she passed away she requested an
We are deeply grateful to the residents and staff of Mary
Sandoe House who became Ruth’s second family for over
a decade, the staff of Trailwinds Hospice and the Boulder
Public Library’s Homebound Delivery Service.
Ruth was predeceased by her sister, Naomi Goodman and
husband, Paul Kliger. She is survived by her daughters,
Carol Kliger and Lisa Kliger-Barnes, granddaughters
Katherine and Chloe Barnes, nieces, nephews, and
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ruth’s
memory to the Boulder Public Library’s Homebound
Delivery Service https://boulderlibrary.org/about/donateto-the-library/ Trailwinds Hospice or Mary Sandoe House.