FORMER TOWN CLERK RUTH ESCHELBACH DIES

Former Red Bank Borough Clerk Ruth Eschelbach died at her John Street home Saturday afternoon, according to Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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A borough native, she was 89 years old and died surrounded by family, an obituary in today’s Asbury Park Press says.

A full-time mother, she entered the work force in her early 50s as a secretary in borough hall. Seven years later, in 1979, she became borough clerk, according to the obituary. She held the position until her retirement eight years later.

She was also a onetime president of the Red Bank Public Library Board of Trustees.

Here’s the obit:

Ruth M Eschelbach, 89, passed away peacefully Saturday, June 6, 2009, at home surrounded by her loving family.

Born Aug. 17, 1919 in Red Bank to the late Agnes Daly McCormick and Henry J. McCormick, she is also predeceased by her much-loved husband, Joseph O Eschelbach; four brothers, Edward and Henry McCormick, and Charles and Francis P O’Gorman Jr.; her beloved stepfather, Francis P O’Gorman Sr.; and an infant son, Michael. She leaves to mourn her passing her children, Joann and James J. Plumaker of Red Bank, Arthur F. Eschelbach of Trenton, Barbara and Robert Reutter of Toms River, Rosemary and Paul Gleitz of Cape Coral, Fla., Paul Eschelbach and his companion Michael LaBell of West Long Branch, and Dr. Matthew and Jeanine Eschelbach of Bend, Ore.; her sister and best friend, Agnes Flagg of Atlanta, Ga. She is survived by 12 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; her cousin, Margaret Cross; two sisters-in-law, Audrey O’Gorman of Oakhurst, and Betty O’Gorman of Rumson; many nieces, nephews, and friends. She leaves, also, her cherished John Street neighbors especially Josephine Maletto who visited her daily.

A graduate of Red Bank High School, class of 1937, and the Red Bank Business Institute, she served on many reunion committees. She was a member and past president of St. James Grammar School and Red Bank Catholic High School PTAs. She was a member of the Red Bank Zoning and Library Boards, having served as president of the Library Board for 25 years before macular degeneration impaired her vision. She was a member of the Board of Elections and RB Democratic Club having served as president. A full-time mother for many years, she entered the work force as secretary with the Boro of Red Bank in 1972. She became borough clerk in 1979, and served until her retirement in 1987. She was a communicant of St. James Church, Red Bank.

Never without friends or a hobby, she read vociferously, did the N.Y. Times crossword puzzle in ink, enjoyed art, needlepoint, embroidery, bridge, scrabble, Broadway plays, travel, and learned to sew in order to make an outfit for her daughter to wear in the Court Notes at Georgian Court College. Her antiques were treasures as she sought out and learned about American, Victorian, European delights. Old clocks became a part of her d├ęcor. Keeping them in working order was a challenge. Decorating for holidays was her joy as she created a spirit of warmth and hospitality in her home, sharing this happiness with her children, their friends, and many of her own.

An eternal optimist, she did everything possible to keep her family safe, educated, and loved.

Music especially opera and dancing were her pleasure. Cooking, jelly and jam making, gardening were natural to her as were fresh flowers on the table and starched old tablecloths.
Outliving many friends and family, she missed them greatly.

Generosity was innate to her. When a truck driver broke down in front of her home, she brought him in to have dinner and wait while his vehicle was repaired. A neighborhood family had their home ravaged by fire. Before the ashes were cool, they were in her home having a meal and a roof over their heads. They had lost almost all of their possessions, including Easter clothes that were made by hand by the mother. Her giving brought pleasure to her and has been returned tenfold by her wonderful care givers, the N.J. Commission for the Blind, the VNA, Red Bank First Aid, friends, family, neighbors, Dr. Brendan and Father Bob who eased her last few years as she faced the travails of broken hips, blindness, anxiety, and other ailments. It is in giving that she received and it is in dying that she will encompass the peace of Heaven that awaits her.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 11 at the Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, June 12 at St. James R.C. Church, 94 Broad St., Red Bank. Interment will follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Middletown. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the St.Vincent De Paul Society, 94 Broad St., Red Bank, NJ 07701.