Ruth ‘Fireball’ Rompler left this world September 12, 2021. She was born April 18, 1927, in Germany. She loved to tell stories about growing up in her grandparent’s butcher shop and traveling the countryside with her father while he worked as an electrician. She loved animals and dreamed of being a veterinarian when she was little. Ruth, with her parents, Herman and Else Fitzner and sister Hannelore, all survived WWII, during which they were displaced to Berlin.
After the war, she was educated in medical technology and enjoyed working in hospitals and laboratories. She also met Peter Rompler and married 1951 and they had two daughters, Rose and Heidi. Peter emigrated to the United States ahead of his family to attend OSU. When Heidi was two, Ruth traveled with the girls by ship, to meet Peter. She parted ways with him a year later and made her own way with her daughters. She took a job at Planter’s Peanuts to make ends meet and found her own apartment in German Village. Soon, she was able to find work at Grant Hospital and in 1958 moved into her own home on the south side of Columbus, where she lived until 2018. She raised her daughters, had pets of all kinds (dogs, rabbits, cats, birds, monkeys, alligators, ducks and more), put in a goldfish pond full of fish, frogs and lilies, planted and grew a garden filled with fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers. She loved using her electric chain saw and made quick work of any trees that needed to be removed.
Ruth was proud of her accomplishments through her career. One of her favorite stories was about convincing the doctor she worked for to build the department of nuclear medicine at Grant Hospital. She met John Glen when he needed an x-ray. She was hard working and wanted to be the best in her department. Riding her motorcycle to work made her very happy. She tried to retire several times but continued to work part time into her late 70’s as a cytologist, reading slides to identify cancer cells.
When Ruth wasn’t working, she was traveling the world. She went all over the US and loved to take long road trips. She returned to Germany to visit her family (Hannelore and her children, Sabine and Hans are still living in Berlin) often, as the kids got older. Smuggling turkeys, bacon and cigarettes for her family in Europe gave her great pleasure. On the return trip she stuffed as much chocolate into her bags as she could carry. She traveled the world with both family and friends to go cruising, skiing and SCUBA diving. She enjoyed taking lots of photographs and home movies of her adventures. Her last trip when she was 91, was her dream cruise up the Danube River with her sister Hannelore.
Somehow, Ruth still had spare time to sew clothes for herself and her family (swimsuits and ski clothes were her specialty), bake fancy award-winning cakes that people still talk about years after they have eaten them, and swim laps at the pool. She also liked to spend time with her family – who all stayed close by in the Columbus area. She saw both of her daughters married – Rose to Jim Conrad and Heidi to John Hickey. Heidi gave her two grandbabies, Heather and John Peter. She was very involved with the grandkids – traveling, baking, sewing, and caring for the garden together. John Peter married Joy Weston and gave Ruth two great grandbabies, Mary and Caleb. She delighted in bringing them gifts and watching them grow. Ruth loved seeing her family and it was important to her to spend birthdays and holidays with everyone.
As a family, we are thankful to have had such an amazing woman in our lives. Ruth was a strong, independent woman before it was cool. She had opinions and wasn’t afraid to use them and made her own way in the world without any apologies. We will miss her, but she will live in our memories – sharing her legends and stories for years to come.
Memorial service details pending.
Arrangements completed by JERRY SPEARS FUNERAL HOME with CREMATORY, 2693 West Broad St.
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