Ruth Rose Block Michael, 103

Ruth Rose Block Michael
Ruth Rose Block Michael
Ruth Rose Block Michael passed away peacefully, Feb. 17, after a short illness.

Block Michael, was born on Aug. 5, 1912 in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada to Violet Wendelboe and Louis Block. Her father owned a piano store and delivered pianos by horse drawn wagon. When the family moved to Hyde Park in the 1920s, Block Michael attended Hyde Park High School and the University of Chicago, but had to drop out of the university during the depression and find a job to help support her family.

She became a bookseller at Kroch’s Bookstore on LaSalle Street and later became store manager.

In 1937, Block Michael met her husband, David Michael, a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, and they were married in 1938 using a $100 literary prize she had won from The New York Times.

In 1954, Block Michael and her husband became the proud owners of the Warren McArthur house at 4852 S. Kenwood Ave., designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1892. She owned the home until it was sold in 2014.

During those years Block Michael was active on the Hyde Park Kenwood Open House Committee and the University of Chicago Service League. She saved the lives of many cats and dogs and became a painter, showing her work at the Hyde Park Art Center.

When Block Michael turned 100 on August 5, 2012, she was honored to meet President Barack Obama who had turned 51 on August 4, 2012. He gave her a hug and a kiss, which she never forgot.

The last few years she happily resided at Montgomery Place and was proud to be the eldest resident living independently.

Block Michael’s husband, David, preceded her in death in 1985.

She is honored, remembered and survived by her daughters, Louisa (Jim) McPharlin and Ellen (Irwin) Miller, grandchildren, Molly and Michael (Amy Martin) McPharlin and Sophia Miller and great grandchildren, Max and Lev McPharlin Thatcher and Maggie and William McPharlin.

A memorial reception for Block Michael will be held at Montgomery Place other details will be announced at a later date.