Ruth Pfeifer

Obituary of Ruth Norby Pfeifer

Ruth Pfeifer, 91, of Charleston, South Carolina, passed away on March 3, 2024.

Ruth was born on September 24, 1932, to Melford and Gina (Eken) Norby in Rock Island, Illinois. After Ruth graduated from Rock Island High School in 1950, she attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and earned an associate’s degree before going on to study at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.

Ruth met her husband, Howard, on a blind date. They hit it off immediately and were married in Rock Island in 1955. They moved to St. Louis, Missouri, while Howard studied for his Ph.D. at Washington University. In 1963 they relocated to Connecticut where Howard took a position as a professor at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Ruth worked in various administrative roles at the University for many years then retired in 1997 as Executive Assistant to the President of Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut.

Ruth was an avid hiker and backpacker, and a terrific baker and seamstress. She enjoyed hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, gardening, crocheting, knitting and needlework (cross-stitch, hardanger). With her husband, Howard, being a botanist and landscape designer, their acreage in Mansfield, Connecticut was one big beautiful botanical garden. Ruth enjoyed spending time walking through the gardens after dinner with Howard and her companion black standard poodle, Harry, always by her side. “Harry One” passed away in 1988. A few years later Ruth got a second black standard poodle, “Harry Two” (she also named him Harry—easier to remember!).

In 1986 at the age of 53, Ruth hiked the entire 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mt. Katahdin, Maine. The trek took five months. She was known as Golden Oldie on the trail and earned the title of “through-hiker” having completed the trail continuously from start to finish in a single season. Upon her return to Connecticut, she was interviewed, and an article published in the local newspaper. Then in 1990 at the age of 57, Ruth flew with her bicycle to Oregon and rode 4,250 miles across the country via the Transamerica Bicycle Trail to Virginia in approximately two and a half months. This adventure earned her another interview and a second article published in the local newspaper.

After Ruth’s retirement, she and Howard began annual trips to Florida as “snowbirds”. They spent the winter months on Pine Island and eventually built a new house and relocated to Cape Coral, Florida, full time in 2005.

Ruth was predeceased by her husband, Howard; her parents, Melford and Gina Norby; and her sister, May Louise Norby. She is survived by her son, Howard (Lany) Pfeifer, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut; her daughter, Helen Pfeifer, of Cape Coral, Florida; and her daughter, Mary (Bruce) Cyr, of Charleston, South Carolina.

Services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to a charity of your choice.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Simplicity LowCountry Cremation & Burial Services Inc | North Charleston
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