Ruth Derstine Wenger, 82, EHS phys ed and health teacher, Hall of Famer

By on June 14, 2017

Ruth Derstine Wenger, 82, EHS phys ed and health teacher, Hall of Famer

Ruth Derstine Wenger, of Akron, passed away June 12, 2017, at the age of 82.

Ruth was born Nov. 16, 1934, in Souderton, to her parents, Titus and Eva (Sell) Derstine.

She participated in the marching band and played several sports before graduating from Souderton High School. After playing on the field hockey, basketball, and softball teams at Temple University, she graduated with a degree in physical education in 1956. While in college, she enjoyed lifeguarding in Cape May during her summers.

She began her teaching career at Glenside Weldon, and later moved back to Souderton High School after her mother passed away, so that she could help care for her father and brother, Dick. She met her husband, Sam, on a memorable car trip to Indiana, and they were married in 1965.

Sam and Ruth lived in Rothsville, and later Akron, while Sam continued his teaching career and Ruth coached various sports at Lancaster Bible College and Elizabethtown College. While her children were young, she went on to coach field hockey for two stellar seasons at Franklin & Marshall.

Ruth returned to her teaching roots and taught phys ed and health at Ephrata School District, where she also started the softball program, and coached varsity field hockey and junior high basketball for many seasons before retiring in 1996. During her tenure, her teams won many league and district championships. She was inducted into Ephrata High School’s Hall of Fame in 1999.

Ruth had many interests and passions. She served as a mentor to young people in her church, and participated in her house church, in addition to cultivating meaningful relationships through teaching and coaching. Playing the recorder, singing, gardening, and drawing also engaged her creative side.

Always interested in issues regarding peace and social justice, she participated in Women in Black and donated time with Mennonite Disaster Service. Ruth’s love of traveling began with a year of voluntary service at an orphanage and work camps in postwar Germany. She and Sam visited Alaska and Newfoundland as well as many countries in Europe and Africa. In later life, she also enjoyed reading, playing board games as well as watching her grandchildren’s athletic events and musical endeavors.

Ruth is survived by her daughters: Ann (Jon) Whipple of Cape May, N.J.; Carla (Dennis) Vicidomini of Lancaster; and Tonya Wenger (Eric Gjertsen) of Akron; as well as four grandchildren: Hannah and Jay Whipple, and Nick and Tyler Vicidomini.

She is preceded in death by her husband: Sam; parents: Titus and Eva; stepmother: Mary Ellen; and brother: Richard.

Ruth’s family will hold visitations on Friday, June 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:30 to 11 a.m., at Akron Mennonite Church, 1311 Diamond St., Akron. A celebration of life service will follow at 11:00 AM. All are welcome to attend.

Memorial donations in Ruth’s name may be given to Crossroads Women’s Center – Women Count! -and Mennonite Disaster Service.

Arrangements by Stradling Funeral Homes, Inc., Akron/Ephrata. Online condolences can be given at

About mhunnefield

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *