Ruth Epstein, 91, died June 27, 2020 in Lawrence, Kansas after a brief illness. She was born Ruth Cohen on September 24, 1928 in the Bronx, New York City, the youngest of three daughters.
During her childhood, Ruth was a prolific reader and, according to her mother, had read every single book in the children’s section of her local public library. She studied French and Latin at Hunter College High School and once achieved the highest score in New York City on the Latin Regents exams. She was naturally curious and excelled in school, skipping at least two terms before graduating at age 16. She majored in English at Queens College, also in New York City.
In 1950, she married Jacob (Jack) Epstein, and they moved to Chicago, Illinois. They were one of eight families to start the Reform Jewish TreeTowns Congregation in suburban Chicago (now Congregation Etz Chaim), which has since grown to nearly 500 families. She was active in the temple Sisterhood, serving in several capacities.
They moved to Topeka, Kansas in 1969, where they remained until 1999, when they moved to Lawrence. They have been members of Temple Beth Sholom in Topeka for almost 50 years. Ruth worked in Washburn University’s Alumni Office and in the office at the VA Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center. She also did volunteer work at Doorstep, a community assistance organization.
She was kind, competent, and loving, a devoted wife and mother. Her thoughtfulness and sweet demeanor will be greatly missed.
She leaves behind her husband, Jack, of Lawrence, her daughter, Francie Costello (Tom),also of Lawrence, KS, her son, Howard (Nancy), of Long Beach, CA and grandchildren Rachael Costello, Jacob Costello (Sadie) and Nina Epstein.
Graveside services will be at 11:00 am on Friday, July 3, 2020 at Cemetery Beni Israel, 1301 E. 2100 Road, Eudora, Kansas.
PLEASE, NO FLOWERS. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions in her memory be directed to: Mo-Kan Post 605 American Jewish War Veterans ( for background information go to Facebook and search “605 JWV”). Checks may be sent to Mo-Kan Post JWV, 8003 Gillette St., Lenexa, KS 66215 or American Friends of Magen David Adom, Midwest Office 3175 Commercial Avenue, Suite 101, Northbrook, IL 60062. (847-509-9802) https://afmda.org/ Internet contributions may not be reliably ascribed; you will have to fill in the address of a family member for them to be notified.
To share a memory of Ruth or leave a message for her family, please click the Share Memories button above.