May 12, 1923 ~ July 10, 2014
Ruth M. Hollerbach, 91, of Fremont, CA died on July 10, 2014 surrounded by her family.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Jerome, and youngest son, John. She is survived by her children Jerome, Jr., James, Jean, and Jeffrey; grandchildren Jerome, III, Jason, Joshua, Shawna, Beverly, and Andrew; great grandchildren Isaac and David; and her brother, Richard.
Ruth loved her family and friends always putting them before her own needs. She especially loved Christmas. She loved to bake and will always be remembered for her 'scratch' chocolate buttermilk cake.
She will be missed be her family and friends.
Private services will be held. Contact family for details.
Grandma was great at dealing with stubborn kids. She could always get Shawna and I to take our naps even though we would fight it saying we didn't need one, probably because we had just had some of her famous buttermilk chocolate cake and were hyper from the sugar. But she knew best as most grandma's do. So she would rub our backs and feet until we would finally fall asleep. And after that we always looked forward to our naps because it meant a back rub from grandma. She made us all feel special. But personally I remember the special little seat that grandma would set up for me at the dinner table. It was a simple stool with a little pillow, but to me it was the best seat in the house because it was right next to Grandma. And whenever Shawna and I would come down for dinner grandma would make her oven chow mein, despite uncle Jim's dislike for it, because she knew it was our favorite. We were lucky to have such a loving grandma who always thought of us and made us all feel special. Written by Beverly Hollerback, Granddaughter.
One of my favorite memories is oven chew mein. Every time we would stay with grandma, she always knew exactly what we wanted for dinner that night, our favorite oven chew mein. The best part was that uncle jim would always suffer through eating it every time we came over. It's always been our favorite dish. And baking Christmas cookies. I loved making the Christmas tree cookies with grandma coupled with coffee for grandma and chocolate milk for bev and I. And how all us grand kids were her 'honey bunch of stinky weeds' as she would say to get bev and I up from our naps. Those are some of my favorite things about grandma. Written by Shawna Hollerbach, granddaughter.
To me, she was known as Grandma Ruth, or simply, Grandma. I was fortunate to have grown up just a few houses down the street from her. I have many memories of her, some of the funny, some of them endearing, some of them sad, some of them heartwarming, all of them cherished.
Some of my earliest memories remain in that dream state, where only certain details stand out, sometimes not revealing a story at all but more of a feeling of sentiment that when looked back upon bring a smile and warm fuzzy feeling of love, warmth and good feelings. Some are more cohesive, with a beginning, middle and end. I'd like to take a moment to share some of those memories, and hopefully paint a picture, at least from my perspective, of this woman who was such a strong part of my life.
I was just a smidgin' (to use a term she probably would to describe an amount, whether used for a length of time or quantity of an ingredient in one of her recipes) over 2 years old when we moved to Fremont, and Grandma served from time to time as baby sitter, guardian, over watch and second mother to me and my brother. Her taxi cab of choice, which I was always proud to tell my friends how cool it was that my Grandma drove, was a 1977 Chevy Camaro. 305 cubic inches of American engine with sleek airplane like contours, and this obnoxious rust orange paint color that I never figured out why anybody would choose. When I turned 16, I would inherit responsibility for this car, as my first set of wheels. I then proudly attempted to wash, and wax this rust orange steel tank to maintain its original glory. As a younger child, we would sit in the back seats, that were apparently made for pygmies from the South American continent as it had a sever lack of leg room. I don't recall being uncomfortable as a child though.
I remember several trips to Winchells Bakery in Santa Clara with her, the savory smell of pastries and donuts still evoke those child hood memories of trips there with Grandma.
Possibly on a separate trip to the library in Santa Clara, or maybe after a pit stop for some rolls, I remember standing at the edge of the library fountain, the day was warm and sunny, and I thought my teddy bear (known as Old Bear) would like to go for a swim. I promptly heaved Old Bear in to the blue waters for a cooling dip, and realized that the currents were too much for his amateur swimming abilities as he began to be pulled to the center of the fountain. Fearing I may never see Old Bear alive again, I did what any good child would do, and began to scream and cry. Life Guard Grandma to the rescue, she removed her shoes, hitched up her dress and waded the treacherous waters to rescue Old Bear and reunite him with me. For the rescue of my dear friend, I am eternally grateful.
I'm sure most of you remember that look, which I'm willing to bet is a Hollerbach tradition and passed down from generation to generation. That look which involves nothing more than the raising of a single eyebrow. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well, let me tell you, that look, was worth a million. Maybe more. I don't recall for sure, but I'll wager that I received just such a look after Grandma waded to safety with Old Bear.
I'm not sure whether it was the fact that Grandma was from Minnesota, or was just old, but she had some unique words in her vocabulary. Pop, for instance, meant soda. Pop was always kept in the refrigerator out in the garage. She also had a saying about washing your hands, or staying warm, to keep the germans from making you sick. I was utterly convinced that some form of European bad guy microbes were ready to invade my body and make me sick. And keeping warm, we all know as a child, is no fun. In elementary school we are driven by a certain need to be 'cool.' And being dressed by your grandparents, is not cool. On brisk winter days, Grandma would ensure that I was properly outfitted with all the cold weather essentials from puffy jacket to stocking cap. I was ready to trek in the bitter cold Yukon. Not quite as bad as the little boy from Christmas Story, but it felt worse as a kid. I can remember at least one instance in school, out on the playground, running around like a crazed idiot with no jacket on during recess and I come upon Grandma, standing vigilent watch at the perimeter fence. She called me to her and I walked, slowly with head down, caught red handed. She'd scold me for not wearing my stocking cap, saying I was going to catch the germans and send me on my way with a departing shot of eyebrow for good measure.
Christmas time at the Hollerbach house was known to many unique phenomena. One of the most bizarre, was an ability to select the largest tree known to man kind, much akin to the tree the Griswold family from Natl. Lampoons cut down from the forest, and somehow convince the entire family it was Jim's idea. And he gladly played the martyr, not once caving in and ratting out the true master mind. On more than one occasion I was sure we'd have to cut a hole in the ceiling to fit the tree in the room, but we never did. Somehow we managed to squeeze the tree in there without such antics as seen in Griswold Family. I believe now, the sole purpose of the behemoth trees, was to fit all the presents under. Presents which Grandma surely began buying at least 2 years in advance. That woman sure loved to shop. For which, I am grateful, as I have on rare occasion ever had to purchase a pair of underwear, socks, or kitchen utensil.
Christmas time also began the annual dusting off of factory equipment, conveyor belts and other such machines I'm sure, as Grandma's Little Sweat Shop began producing Christmas cookies in record numbers. Cookies of all shapes, sizes, and colors would line the table at the family get together. My favorites, were of course, the white buttons. Powedery sugary goodness that melted in your mouth.
A Grandma's job is never over, and part of that job description is to spoil her grand kids. After the tree was ransacked and not a present was left unwrapped, she'd bring the grand kids into the family room to open even more goodies from the stockings that hung above the fire place. It was like Christmas part deux.
When I got older, I began to decorate my body with the occasional tattoo. I don't recall telling Grandma outright that I had done such an atrocity, but I'm sure my own mother sold me out. Grandma would call me over, ask to see the colorful ink, and then proceed to vigorously rub in an attempt to clean it off of me.
Grandma even knew my friends, most notably 'Nacho.' She would always ask me how he was, and never missed an opportunity to tell me 'what a good boy that Nacho was.' If she only knew….. I have been dating a wonderful woman named Christina. Grandma has never once hesitated to welcome Christina to the family and make her feel right at home. After I proposed to Christina, with Grandma present of course, she was heard leaving my house, excitedly proclaiming 'Im sooo happy!' I wish I could have heard her say it, and I'm deeply saddened that she will not be present at our wedding, but I know she'd be very happy to see me exchange vows with Christina.
Through it all, Grandma has been a wonderful part of my life. I am blessed to have had her here through some of the most formative years of my life. I do however, have to remind myself, that while she has been there for most of my life, I was only there for a small window of hers. She was young once, as I am now, and has lived a storied life. She was still full of surprises to me, even at the end. She was a woman that had been through more than I can imagine, the Great Depression, World War II, and much more. I hope that she will live on, through my stories and memories, and through the memories of those that were with her in her younger years as well. Written by Joshua Ellis, grandson.
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We are all very sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. I know it a very tough time for you and your whole family. Your Mom was a great neighbor to us for all these years, and she really went out of her way to help make holidays special for our kids. Both John and Kelly remember her as “Grandma Ruth”, and they (and Mary and myself) very much appreciated all the cards and gifts she sent them as they were growing up. We will very much miss her, and we will keep her (and your whole family) in our prayers. We appreciate you letting us know about the upcoming services.
Mark and Mary
Please accept our deepest condolences to you and your family. We will miss Ruth very much as she was “Grandma Ruth” to our two boys as they were growing up and a wonderful neighbor. You were blessed with 2 great parents and we were glad we knew them both. We’ll be praying for comfort for your family during this difficult time.
Jeff, Mary, Joshua and Andre Hahn