Ruth Kuhfahl Obituary, Ruth Kuhfahl Has Passed Away – Death Cause
- Lucas Smith
Ruth Kuhfahl Obituary, Death – “Now, help me recollect where our paths have met,” Ruth Kuhfahl says during a March afternoon dinner at the Adirondack Mountain Coffee Café in Upper Jay. She sees the eight-person birthday table. The waitress inquires about her son. Sunday muffins from a church buddy. Ruth calls to greet the one woman she doesn’t know since she reminds her of someone. Kuhfahl thinks people struggle. “Tell everyone.”
Outside the café, Adirondack environmentalists know Ruth Kuhfahl. She chaired the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Hurricane Chapter from the 1980s to five years ago. “Ruth’s Simple Project” was created for novices, kids, and volunteers who needed a break from the hardest job. “They were terrific guys who shared our ideas,” Kuhfahl adds. “Always wonderful at getting muddy with trail maintenance,” says Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway. Before “softer trail labor,” she lifted rocks, chopped trees, and walked through mud.
Ruth never slowed down, according to Janeway. She “always smiles and asks how you’re doing” when he sees her. Wes Lampman, ADK chief operating officer, and former Mountain Club trails coordinator said Ruth’s “basic initiatives” and kindness attracted more people into the Adirondacks and taught them trail maintenance. Although retiring, Lampman supports the initiative.
Trail work, career, and Senior Games participation were unplanned for Kuhfahl. She took advantage. Connecticut-based Kuhfahl’s ex-YMCA husband led them to Ohio, Chicago, and Buffalo. Adopted sons (one of them died in 2017). She became a Buffalo physics secretary after divorcing at 50. They urged her to work full-time as a Kelly Girl temp. Coworkers told her about the Niagara Frontier Adirondack Mountain Club Chapter. After joining the club and vacationing in the Adirondacks, she became interested in the trails program, which she headed. Buffalo Nature Conservancy’s final volunteer chair.
Though her first Adirondacks excursion was to Mount Marcy, the park’s tallest peak, she has only climbed 22 of the 46 High Peaks. She only did the ones she liked. Her interest was hiking. The 1982 Grand Canyon Sierra Club all-women service trip was her first. She contacts the canyon-rim camper. She worked at Baxter Park in Maine, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, Cumberland Island in Georgia, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in North Carolina, Virgin Islands National Park, and Acadia National Park. 1989 saw Kuhfahl’s Adirondack retirement. She resided with Keene Valley attorney Emily Neville until she found her own apartment after spending the first summer with her “in-law family” in Westport. She made numerous friends hiking, paddling, and volunteering.
After hip surgery, numerous friends assisted her despite having no family nearby (her son lives in Florida). “Everyone came.” Keene Valley library pals. She volunteered. She claims book organization. Two-year board president. She co-leads the Hulls Falls Road Keene spring bird trek. She helps participants identify wildflowers. Her friends camp and paddle. Six Whitney tract campers survived Hurricane Isabel. She competed in the Albany Senior Games for almost ten years, winning a 100-meter gold medal. She headed Northern New York Audubon and volunteered in the butterfly house at the Visitor Interpretive Center for ten years. She completed her bucket list.