Remembering Ruth Markus
By Dean Shipley
A renowned artist, who loved her neighborhood in London, Ohio, has passed on. Ruth Markus died Dec. 6 in Columbus. She was 88. Markus, a native of Czechoslovakia, resided in and raised her family in London along with her husband, Martin Markus, M.D.
Though described as a private person, Markus gave of herself generously to her family, her art and her friends, many of whom were as close as her front porch.
Bonnie Hamilton said as she grew up, she knew who Markus was. It was thereafter, when she moved into a home in the neighborhood near Elm and Fifth streets, that she became friends with Markus. Calling Markus “one of the dearest people I’ve ever known, Hamilton noticed her love of children.
“She took joy in the children of the neighborhood,” Hamilton said.
She also took them to the movies. Hamilton recalled a time when Markus volunteered to take her four children to see Edward Scissorhands.
Hamilton, in turn, would invite Markus to accompany her to church services on Christmas Eve. Hamilton said even though Markus’ background was Jewish, “she wanted to go.”
“She enjoyed the music,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton invited her home for Christmas Eve dinner and Markus accepted. Hamilton said her guest didn’t appear too upset that while they were preparing to eat the holiday repast, a piece of plaster on the dining room ceiling fell between the table and the buffet.
The table was moved to the foyer and the dinner proceeded as planned.
Hamilton said there were numerous times when she would put her children to bed then slip down the alley to Ruth’s house where they would chat over coffee.
Markus was a talented artist who worked hours perfecting her enamel on copper technique in jewelry making. Hamilton received a number of pieces of Markus’ art.
“My life is better because I knew her,” Hamilton said.
Barb Amling’s fondest memory of Markus was the time she made costumes for the first production of the community theatre.
“She researched them and they were perfect for the period. She was a lovely artist,” Amling said. “She was a very interesting individual.”
Amling noted Ruth Markus’ attention to fashion detail was evident in her own wardrobe.
“She always dressed beautifully and so much fun,” Amling said.
The Markuses had three sons, Helge, Stanley and John. John became a writer and producer of TV shows and credits his mother with his courage to follow his creative muse.
“I am a writer today because of my mother,” Markus wrote in an e-mail to the Press. “Sure, I had a traditional mom, (every school day, her three sons could count on homemade lunches on Fifth Street). But, deep in her soul, Mom lived the life of artist. She adored the visual world, and would dwell in her studio painting lush portraits or crafting exquisite jewelry. Growing up, I watched her, bound by an artist’s perfectionism, tirelessly reworking a piece until it had just the right feeling. She inspired me to live my life with the courage to create.”
His two brothers followed their own career paths. Helge, like his father, the late Martin Markus, M.D., became a physician. Stanley is a surgeon residing in Wisconsin.