An Obituary: Katharine Ruhl

August 8, 2023

Katharine Ruhl, 86, of Bedford passed away on Aug. 6, 2023. She was born on May 8, 1937, in Boston to parents Mary Loring Clapp and Nathaniel Dudley Clapp. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Robert C. Ruhl of Bedford, children Mary L. Ruhl of Medford (spouse Kevin Ghiozzi) and William F. Ruhl of Richmond, Virginia (spouse Christina Ruhl), and grandchildren Jordan Ruhl and Isabella Ghiozzi. 

Katharine lived in Hingham before World War II and then traveled with her parents and brother David as the army relocated her father to Maryland and Florida. After the war, they moved to Pride’s Crossing, MA and she attended Shore Country Day School in Beverly. She subsequently boarded at Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA. After graduation, she earned a BA in history of art in 1959 from Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Katharine Ruhl

She then spent an enjoyable and educational year in Florence, Italy. Upon return, she worked for several years at her father’s manufacturing company in Wakefield while living in Cambridge. Subsequently, she moved to Boston’s Back Bay and accepted a job as a lab technician at MIT, doing research on ancient metal artifacts under institute professor Cyril Stanley Smith. At MIT, she met a graduate student who became her husband.

After Robert received a PhD in 1967, they moved to greater Cleveland, Ohio where she volunteered at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University. After they bought a home in Cleveland Heights, their two children were born. In 1979, they joined the Cleveland Skating Club and very much enjoyed their athletic facilities, dining, and social life.

In 1981, Kathy began volunteering in the archaeological department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which continued for more than 30 years. She earned an MA degree in Anthropology from Kent State University in 1996 and authored or co-authored eleven technical papers and nine presentations, mostly on artifacts made by native Americans from the Ohio vicinity before 900 AD.

Her hobbies included travel, tennis, knitting, powerlifting, reading, painting, and sailing. In 2019, she and her husband moved to Carleton Willard Village in Bedford (a continuing-care retirement community).

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Perkins School for the Blind, 175 N. Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472.

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