By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — A firecracker … humorous … and genuinely nice. That’s how long-time Beavercreek resident Ruth Mitsoff is being remembered by former newspaper co-workers.
Ruth Mitsoff, 83, died early Tuesday morning at Kettering Medical Center as a result of a stroke. She was co-founder of the Beavercreek newspaper publication which published in Greene County for years and was active in the Beavercreek area until her death.
“The community will remember Ruth for her dedication to the newspaper and to the community,” her son, Tom Mitsoff, said. “I will remember her much more for her absolute devotion to her four children. Absolutely nothing was more important to her than us four siblings, and she lived her life in a way that demonstrated that to us every single day. We were blessed to have her as our mother.”
Along with her husband, Chris — who died in 2002 — Ruth purchased a weekly shopping newspaper from a group of Beavercreek Township merchants in 1960 and transformed it into a publication with stories, photos and editorials. She served as circulation and advertising manager while Chris Mitsoff was the editor and publisher.
The Mitsoffs sold the newspaper in 1985 and it has been published under several different owners, including current owner Civitas Media. Mrs. Mitsoff worked for the paper in sales until 2010, aggressively and successfully filling the paper with retail advertising like she did from day one.
“I remember Ruth cutting out newspaper ads from other papers, calling the business and making a deal with them to run the same ad in the Beavercreek paper,” said Heidi (Willhelm) Garlow, who worked with Mrs. Mitsoff in sales in the mid 1990s. “She could fill up an ad section in minutes. She was such a firecracker.”
Seemingly everyone in Beavercreek knew Ruth and people would always stop in the office at 1350 N. Fairfield Road to grab a copy of the paper and chat about current events.
“I have lots of fun memories of ‘Ruthie Marie’ and that little office where so many stories were told,” said Sharon (Knueve) Bengel, who worked as a reporter for several years. “They ran a genuine community newspaper that existed to serve the community. I will never forget Ruth or any of the Mitsoff family.”
Many successful journalism careers were spawned under the Mitsoff Family, including that of Karrie Rossmiller, former WKEF/WRGT news director and WDTN traffic reporter, and Bill Shea, a veteran writer with Crain’s Detroit Business.
“Ruth Mitsoff was one of the most genuinely nice people I’ve met in my 20 years in the newspaper business and she was damn good at her job,” Shea said. “She and her family created a great little newspaper in Beavercreek and I came to realize I was lucky to begin my career with good, caring people like Ruth in what can be an otherwise soulless business. She was always fun to work with in that little old News-Current office, sassy, humorous.”
Ruth was also known for her community involvement. In 1999, she and Chris Mitsoff were named as “head kernels” (honorary goodwill ambassadors) of the annual Beavercreek Popcorn Festival. She was active in the Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce, which was co-founded by Chris Mitsoff in 1966, and in 2012, Mrs. Mitsoff donated the archive of the Beavercreek newspaper editions published under Mitsoff ownership to the Beavercreek Historical Society.
She grew up in Middletown, and graduated from Middletown High School. The Mitsoffs moved to Beavercreek in the late 1950s when Chris Mitsoff got a writing job at what was then known as Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base). Ruth was a member of Beaver United Church of Christ in Alpha and in recent years had become a voracious reader thanks to her good friend Ruth Tobias, who would bring her numerous books to read.
“Ruth really loved Beavercreek like few other people,” Tom Mitsoff said. “She had opportunities to move away, but she was devout in saying that she would never leave Beavercreek.”
Former Beavercreek Mayor and current city council member Jerry Petrak said Beavercreek is blessed with a bunch of good people and Mrs. Mitsoff was one of them.
“Great contributors to the community,” he said. “The (Mitsoff) family was a great family thanks to the mother and father. I always considered her a very hard working, very knowledgeable individual. Made the original Beavercreek News accessible and turned it into something bigger than that.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.