Obituary: Ruth Protas

Ruth Protas

Ruth Protas (nee Kimmel), age 100, died July 14, 2012.

Born in Poland, Mrs. Protas emigrated to New York in 1920, where she met her husband, David Protas, with whom she raised a family.  After David’s death in 1973, she moved from North Bergen, N.J., to Phoenix, Ariz., where she became active in Hadassah and B’nai B’rith and took up ham radio as a hobby (her call sign was N7HQS).  In 2003, she moved to Tucson.  Mrs. Protas loved to dance, knit, write stories, plays, and poetry, participate at Congregation M’Kor Hayim, and keep track of current events.  She also loved to walk, and in 2005, at the age of 94, she walked in the Southern Arizona Race for the Cure, raising over $3,000 (placing her in the top five fundraisers participating in the race that year).  Mrs. Protas was an active advocate for Interfaith Community Services of Tucson — whose services helped her live semi-independently despite her blindness — speaking for them in public, on television, and in newspaper interviews.

Mrs. Protas is survived by her sons, Steve and Art (Mara); devoted friend and daughter-in-law, Marlyne Freedman; grandchildren Josh (Abigail), Brandon (Stacey), Jeremy, and Jennifer Protas; and five great-grandchildren; and by countless others whose lives she touched. “Ruth was an extraordinary woman in many ways, and an inspiration to us
all.  We will miss her smiling face, corny jokes, and vivid presence,” says Rabbi Helen Cohn of Congregation M’kor Hayim.

Memorial services were held at Sinai Mortuary, 4538 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, Ariz., with Rabbi Helen Cohn officiating, followed by graveside services at the Beth El section of Greenwood Memory Lane Cemetery, 2300 W. Van Buren, Phoenix.  Memorial contributions may be made to Congregation M’kor Hayim, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, or Interfaith Community Services.