Ruth E. Thiel, formerly of Evanston and Glenview, Illinois, passed away on Sunday, October 27, at home in Naples, Florida. She leaves behind the family she considered her pride and joy—her children, Michael, Jeffrey, Patti, Mary, and Tracy.
She is also survived by her sons-in-law, Herb Pavey (Patti), David Davies (Mary) and Dave Carroll (Tracy). Ruth could often be heard bragging about her beautifully blended family, which includes her four grandchildren, Anthony (Jessica) and Lindsay (Jason Hiland) Fricks and Bretand Troy Carroll, and her six step-grandchildren, Chris Cramer (Jennifer), Andrea Modlin (Troy), Aura Davies, Kerith Knechtel (Tom), Jennifer Kacprowicz (Mark), and Marni Roberts (Ted), and the many great grandchildren that they gave her.
Ruth was preceded in death by her childhood sweetheart and the love of her life, Joe Thiel. She went through life crediting Joe’s love and support for her incredible success both personally and professionally.
Ruth was a longtime resident of Evanston, Illinois, where she and Joe raised their five children. By the time her youngest child started first grade, Ruth had already put in years of volunteering in Evanston, serving as president of the PTA, Girl Scout leader, and YMCA counselor, as well as on various committees for the Women’s Club of Evanston, St. Francis Hospital, and United Way, to name just a few. It was then that Ruth decided that she, too, wanted to contribute to the financial support of her large family, and so began her career in the real estate industry. Beginning as a sales associate at Mitchell Bros. in Evanston, she rose to executive vice president and manager of the firm’s Evanston office. She then joined Koenig & Strey in 1982. She managed the Glenview, Wilmette, and Evanston offices during her time with the firm and retired at the level of senior vice president.
Ruth served as president of the North Shore Board of Realtors and on the board of directors of the Illinois Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She was named Woman of the Year by the Illinois Women’s Council of Realtors in 1979, Woman of the Year by Women in Real Estate in 1980, Realtor of the Year by the North Shore Board of Realtors in 1981, and Realtor of the Year by the Illinois Association of Realtors in 1984. She was the first woman ever appointed by the governor of Illinois to serve on the state Real Estate Licensing Board.
While raising her family and building her career, she also continued to serve the community she loved. She was the founding president of Evanston Library Friends and founding president of the North Shore chapter of the women’s service organization Zonta, and she served on the Institutional Review Committee for St. Francis Hospital, on the board of directors of the Evanston YMCA, and on the Evanston Economic Development Commission. She also ran for and was elected 2nd Ward alderman for the City of Evanston.
After over 30 years of hard work, Ruth and Joe slowly made the transition to full-time living in Naples, Florida. Her zest for leading did not diminish after retirement, however. Ruth was elected president of the Glades Golf & Country Club, the 1,200-plus-unit residential golf and tennis community where she and Joe made their home in Naples. They loved their active life golfing, bowling, and playing cards when they weren’t traveling, and they enjoyed the many friends made in their Naples community. Ruth was also instrumental in establishing and maintaining the library at the Glades and was recognized for her efforts when the library was named in her honor.
Several years after Joe passed away, Ruth moved to Terracina Grand, where she continued to enjoy her active life with new friends until her death.
A memorial service to celebrate Ruth’s life will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019, at Fuller Funeral Home, 4735 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, Florida. Ruth will be laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery just outside of Evanston, Illinois, in the spring.
The family has designated the following charities for memorial contributions should friends desire: Latchkey League, P.O. Box 413005 #221, Naples, FL 34101 (LatchkeyLeague.org) and AVOW Hospice of Naples, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105 (avowcares.org).