Ruth Rodale Spira


Ruth Rodale Spira (December 9, 1928 – August 31, 2019) was an American businesswoman and cookbook author.

Ruth Rodale Spira
A young woman smiling
Rodale's engagement portrait from a 1954 newspaper
Ruth Rodale

December 9, 1928
DiedAugust 31, 2019 (aged 90)
SpouseJoel Spira
ParentJ. I. Rodale
RelativesRobert Rodale (brother)
Maria Rodale (niece)

Early life and education edit

Ruth Rodale was the daughter of J. I. Rodale and Anna Andrews Rodale.[1] Her parents founded Rodale Press, a global publisher of books and magazines based in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.[2]

She earned a bachelor's degree in botany at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.[3] Her brother was Robert Rodale, and her niece was Maria Rodale.[4]

Career edit

After college, Rodale worked at her parents' book publishing business, and edited Organic Gardening.[1] She lived in Paris from 1952 to 1954.[5] In 1961, she co-founded Lutron Electronics, a lighting company, with her husband, who is credited with inventing the solid-state dimmer switch.[6] She was Lutron's co-chair, and headed the company's marketing department from 1982.[7] In 1973, the Spiras founded another company, Subarashii Kudamono, to grow Asian pears in the Lehigh Valley.[8][9] She published a cookbook, Naturally Chinese: Healthful Cooking for China (1972),[10] considered one of the first American cookbooks to promote Chinese food primarily for its health benefits, rather than as an exotic cuisine.[11]

Spira was an arts patron in the Lehigh Valley, serving on the board of the DeSales University Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, and active in the Allentown Arts Commission and the Allentown Art Museum.[3]

Personal life and legacy edit

Ruth Rodale married Joel Spira in 1954.[12][13] They had three daughters.[14] She was widowed when Spira died in 2015.[6][15] She died in 2019, aged 90 years, in Allentown.[3]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Au Revoir Party for Miss Ruth Rodale". The Morning Call. 1952-09-12. p. 14. Retrieved 2020-09-26 – via
  2. ^ Harry, Lou (2012-06-20). Strange Philadelphia: Stories from the City of Brotherly Love. Temple University Press. pp. 196–198. ISBN 978-1-4399-0444-2.
  3. ^ a b c "Ruth Rodale Spira". Lehigh Valley Press. September 19, 2019. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  4. ^ Fowler, Glenn (1990-09-21). "Robert Rodale, 60, Dies in Crash; Publisher Backed Organic Farms". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  5. ^ Brown, Grace T. (1953-07-09). "Ruth Rodale, Paris Resident 9 Months, Gained Better Knowledge of English". The Morning Call. p. 26. Retrieved 2020-09-26 – via
  6. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (2015-04-14). "Joel Spira, Physicist Who Softened the Lights in Homes Everywhere, Dies at 88". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  7. ^ Salamone, Anthony (5 September 2019). "'I liked taking risks': Lutron co-founder Ruth Rodale Spira, whose husband invented the dimmer switch, dead at 90". The Morning Call. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  8. ^ D'Addono, Beth (September 26, 2012). "Inventors Joel Spira and Ruth Rodale Spira bring Asian pears to Pennsylvania". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  9. ^ "Subarashii Kudamono, Coopersburg, PA: 39.5 Miles". Kimberton Whole Foods. 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  10. ^ Spira, Ruth Rodale (1978). Naturally Chinese: Healthful Cooking from China. Rodale Press. ISBN 978-0-87857-219-9.
  11. ^ Roberts, J. A. G. (2004-07-04). China to Chinatown: Chinese Food in the West. Reaktion Books. p. 196. ISBN 978-1-86189-227-0.
  12. ^ "Ruth Rodale Engaged". The Morning Call. 1954-07-11. p. 27. Retrieved 2020-09-26 – via
  13. ^ "Miss Ruth Rodale a Bride". The Morning Call. 1954-11-14. p. 9. Retrieved 2020-09-26 – via
  14. ^ "Susan S. Hakkarainen". Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Retrieved 2020-09-26.
  15. ^ Salamone, Anthony (April 13, 2015). "Spira family will retain ownership of Lutron Electronics". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2020-09-26.