Eldest of my father's siblings. Glib and cheerful, full of laughter and strong will.
That's Albert Ruth.
I think about the piece of his 90 years I have been around for and it does not feel like enough time to catch every smile, hear every joke, or listen to every story. He gave so much to all of us; including when my mother passed exactly two years ago yesterday.
What follows is what I wrote for him some 10 years ago for his 80th birthday.
My Uncle Albert’s voice, resonating clearly and strongly across any room, is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of him. His voice has marked every important family gathering I can recall. When there is a wedding, expect to hear his rendition of Ave Maria floating into your ears. When there is a humorous story to be told, expect to hear his laughter punctuating the telling.
He is a devout man who has served his church as an elder and shared his graceful voice with his community as a choir member. He is a kind leader, eldest of his siblings and a guide to his grateful nieces and nephews. He is a veteran of World War II, a master of fashion and a traveler to the exotic far reaches of the globe. Few can claim to have witnessed and participated in the history he has been a party to. Fewer still can say they have affected and moved people the way he does with his voice, his stories and his presence. Listen carefully when my Uncle Albert speaks and be prepared to have your spirit stirred.
I wish I could share the tenor of his songs with others. and let them feel how he made the world rumble. There are recordings of him out there, but I have the luxury of playing back each note from my memories.