Licking County News

Ruth Krumm Longtime volunteer mourned

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Margie Bemiller hugs her grandson, Alex Bemiller, following the funeral for Ruth Krumm, the longtime director of the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry. Margie Bemiller is Krumm's daughter. Krumm was buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Johnstown on Friday, March 7. She was 92.
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As the founder and coordinator of the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry, Pataskala resident Ruth Krumm rarely missed one of her scheduled days.

She didn't show up at the pantry Feb. 11, though, and Dick Steyer, a volunteer and Knights of Columbus deputy grand knight, knew something was wrong.

"She always calls if she isn't going to be there so we were quite concerned," Steyer said.

At age 92, Krumm continued to drive herself to the pantry three days a week. But this time, her daughter, Margie, was behind the wheel because her mother's car was in the shop for repairs following a minor accident weeks earlier.

As their vehicle approached Duncan Plains Road at state Route 310, it was broadsided by another vehicle.

Krumm sustained a cracked sternum, and her daughter also had broken bones.

Even though she was released from the hospital on the day of the accident, Krumm never recovered from her injuries. She died March 2 at Mount Carmel Medical Center, leaving many in the community asking what happened to the woman who helped so many as the director of the food bank and a foster parent to dozens of children.

Krumm was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery following a funeral Mass on March 7 at the Church of the Ascension Catholic Church in Johnstown.

"She was a lady who was so well-respected in the community," Steyer said. "To her, the food pantry was an obligation. She was always trying to help those in need. I don't know if she and her (late) husband ever had much themselves, but they sure did share enough."

Krumm opened the food pantry more than 25 years ago at the Church of the Ascension Catholic Church, where she would cook meals for events. She often sent leftovers to families in need. The pantry later moved to the Johnstown Independent Church, 7397 Johnstown-Alexandria Road.

"There are the givers and there are the takers, and Ruth was a giver," said Becky Urdock, who volunteers at the pantry with her husband, Joe. "With Ruth, it came from the heart. That's just the way she was. She never went looking for awards and was even criticized at times for helping people who some felt maybe they didn't need it."

Krumm was the recipient of numerous volunteerism awards, including the 1993 Woman of the Year for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.

Last December, she was a finalist for Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year, which is sponsored by Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News.

The pantry serves about 175 needy families. Even when residents were unable to pick up food items, Krumm was the first to volunteer to deliver.

"I don't know that she trusted anyone else to run the pantry, and there probably wasn't anyone else who could do it better than she did," said Steyer, whose organization helps coordinate the annual Northridge-Johnstown-Monroe school food drive.

A board oversees the pantry.

Urdock and her husband have offered to lead the efforts in the short term. Those who need assistance or want to volunteer should call 740-967-8215.

"I wanted to take flowers to the funeral home, and I told those preparing them that I wanted some white with one red rose because Ruth was the heart of Johnstown," Urdock said.

Many in the community also mourned the loss of another volunteer and leader.

Carl Beeson, who served as the director of the Hartford Fair board for 49 years, died Feb. 24. A pair of horses carried him to his final resting place following a funeral March 1.

Beeson, 87, was a charter member of the Hoofbeats 4-H Clubs and a member of the Licking County Horse Council.

Each year, the Beeson Award recognizes outstanding 4-H participants and leaders.

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