Ruth Manuta Foundation

Click here for larger version of photographThe Ruth Manuta Foundation was established in 1994 to continue the work of Ruth P. Manuta. Ruthie was employed by Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa as a Laboratory Assistant in Chemistry when David M. Manuta was hired as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry there in 1986. She was devoted to the University and was faithful in ensuring that all of the equipment, instrumentation, and supplies were in order. I counted on Ruthie to do many of these necessary tasks. This had the result of freeing me up to do prepare for my committee work, instructional duties, and research activities.

What started out as friendship grew stronger, much like the words to a popular song. Seeing each other every day in a professional capacity, enabled us to truly get to know one  another.  We soon became inseparable and we married in March 1988. Many people told us that the two of us were put on Earth to be together. We were soul mates and we did virtually everything together.
Ruth and Muffin
Ruthie had two undergraduate degrees, one in biology and the other in chemistry. She always had an inquisitive mind and she had an insatiable desire to continue her education; whether within the classroom or outside of it. Through Ruthie I became active in the Iowa Academy of Science and one year we chaired the Fayette Regional Science Fair. We also performed contract research for a northeast Iowa business. When were weren’t pursuing academic work, we traveled extensively. Ruthie loved going to zoos, and she instilled in me an interest in animals that still exists today. Another attribute of hers was to get me to smell the coffee or the roses. The ultimate example of this is my continued interest in the soap opera, “Days of Our Lives!”

In 1989, we relocated to southern Ohio when we both accepted positions at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. This area, purported to be where “southern hospitality” begins, is considerably different from northeast Iowa. The college has contributed to revitalizing an area that once counted multiple shoe factories and steel mills within its city limits. The community/region is an example of the problems that have existed in the Rust Belt. Ruthie took pride in working with people in all walks of life to improve reading skills, in addition to her duties at the college.

MuffinIn Portsmouth, Ruthie decided that she wanted us to have a dog for the first time.  We made three trips to the local dog pound. On the third visit I fondly remember my beloved’s big brown eyes making contact with another set of big brown eyes. Ruthie told me that, “You can bring home any dog that you want, this is the dog that I want!” We adopted an Airedale/Afghan and we named her Muffin. En route home, while Ruthie was driving, I held Muffin and she marked me!

'Muffin Tales' honor beloved pet Muffin's Obit.

The college expanded to where we lived, so we moved north about 30 miles to Waverly, OH.  (Ruthie and I both felt that we needed a large fenced-in yard for Muffin.) We weren’t in Waverly very long when Ruthie became ill with a mysterious ailment. The medical attention that we received for Ruthie in southern Ohio was inconclusive with regard to a diagnosis.

We received a referral to an outstanding physician in Columbus, Dr. Gary Wise. Within a short period of time this brilliant diagnostician had identified Ruthie’s illness as Stage 4 renal cancer with metastatic sites. The prognosis was not good. Our relationship strengthened at this special time.  My colleagues at work (by this time I was working with Martin Marietta; which later merged resulting in Lockheed Martin) donated vacation time so that I could spend as much time as possible with my beloved. Family and friends all came to visit us after Ruthie had come home from Columbus.

All of this best kind of medicine and the expert medical attention unfortunately did not relieve the pain or the symptoms. On December 6, 1993, Ruthie was called home with many of those whom she cared about the most (except for our daughter/dog Muffin) at her bedside.

Early in 1994, after discussions with family and friends, the paperwork was initiated for the establishment of the Ruth Manuta Foundation. This fully tax-exempt public foundation (Federal E.I.N. is 31-1395814.)  was based on the experience that we had when Ruthie’s favorite character on “Days of Our Lives” had passed away. (John Black established the Toscano Foundation when his beloved wife, Isabella Toscano, had died of cancer on the soap opera.)

The Ruth Manuta Foundation now supports the Ruth Manuta Memorial Scholarship at Upper Iowa University. The only stipulations for this scholarship are that the recipients be women of non-traditional college age (over 25) and are natives of northeast Iowa. This scholarship is based on need, not academic performance.

An effort is also being made to expand Foundation activities to include literacy programs for children and to increase science fair participation by young people in this area. (These activities also stem from my involvement with the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters agency and the Ohio Academy of Science.) In all of these endeavors the object is to keep Ruthie’s ideals alive.



For more information contact dmanuta@dmanuta.com