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Ruth Grossman and her husband Bernie first came to Casa de Campo in the early 1980’s, becoming over the next 3 decades popular and beloved members of the community, who through their passion for art and benevolent personalities really made a difference. Today, following the passing of Ruth on May 1st 2012 we share with you the story of this remarkable lady who touched the lives of so many.
The following story has been written with the help of Patti Rambesek, as well as numerous other members of the Casa de Campo community. As much as possible I have let the words of Ruth’s dear friends tell the story for me.
In memory of Ruth Grossman
Bernard and Ruth Grossman first settled in Casa de Campo in the early 1980’s, nearly 30 years ago, in a beautiful apartment overlooking the Altos de Chavón river, an apartment which soon became a home and a focal point for many Casa de Campo community get-togethers.
“Always a lively hostess, Ruth had frequent dinner parties in her apartment overlooking the Chavon River where her guests were treated to the spectacle of egrets flying over the river toward their nightly roost. Her annual St. Valentine’s Day parties were memorable for the borscht and blintzes.” — Patti Rambesek
“Her evenings and dinners were always a high point, a time for like minds to enjoy good food and conversation.” — Stephen Kaplan
During their time in Casa de Campo, the fun-loving coupled enjoyed playing tennis and golf with friends and soon fell in love with not only Casa de Campo, but the Dominican Republic and especially the people, the culture and the art.
“Ruth loved art and artists, she adored teaching and nurturing others. She saw people who were invisible to others. This was a woman who believed in people, who loved the country and people of the Dominican Republic… and did so much for them.” — Stephen Kaplan
Over time, the Grossmans amassed an impressive collection of Dominican art featuring the paintings of Prats Ventos, Vergilio Menendez, Severino, Merla and others. Among artists working in various media, Jose Ignacio Morales “El Artistico” attributes his life-changing decision to produce decorative art to the Grossmans’ encouragement and support. The beautiful sculptured works of “El Artistico”, who is based in La Romana can now be found all across Casa de Campo, making José Ignacio Morales one of the Casa de Campo community’s most popular artists.
“There was the help she always was there to give, the advice and encouragement. Her support went to, now well-established, Jose Ignacio (El Artistico) as he took his first steps to become an internationally recognized craftsman, to Jorge Caridad’s fledgling move into the sophisticated world of jewelry design and to the English lessons she lovingly provided for the girls at the Hogar del Niño.” — Stephen Kaplan
As Stephen mentioned, another young Dominican who benefited from the attentions of Ruth was Jorge Caridad, a graduate of the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design, who thanks to Ruth’s encouragement and support is the owner of “The Ambar and Larimar Museum” with stores in Altos de Chavón and Santo Domingo.
“It is difficult to imagine Pittsburgh and our wonderful community in Casa de Campo without her. But to live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die. Ruth lives on…..” — Patti Rambasek
Inspired by Ruth’s dedication, passion and love for Dominican art, Ruth’s many friends and family have established the “Ruth B Grossman Scholarship Fund” in her memory, which will provide deserving students of the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design the opportunity to pursue their talents, whilst also serving the artistic and design needs of the Dominican Republic.
Please send contributions to:
The Ruth B Grossman Scholarship Fund
Altos de Chavon School of Design
Apartado Postal 140
The Ruth B Grossman Scholarship Fund
Altos de Chavon School of Design
66 Fifth Avenue, Room 819D
New York, NY 10011
“Ruth was much more than a neighbor, she was a dear friend that always welcomed us warmly and graciously into her home. She was a free and independent thinker with a youthful hutzpah that belied her years. Her presence will be greatly missed, but her spirit remains ever present with all of us who new her and continue to love her.”
— Raul Miyar
“Ruth was a person who gave of herself. She gave to her family, community and friends. A life well lived in everyway. She was a dear friend and I will miss her. She left a legacy of joy and happy memories.”
— Phyllis Berney
Ruth Grossman will be remembered for her love of her second home, a corner of the Dominican Republic, La Romana and Casa de Campo. She followed the work and passion of many Dominican artists. Ruth had an appreciation for the beauty of amber. She had a lovely collection of many amber pieces, a collection she displayed with pride.
Ruth Grossman had a love of another gem, Dominican young people. She was a regular feature at the country club’s tennis courts, where she would teach English to the ball boys.
Several years ago, Ruth joined the group of volunteers who teach spoken English in la Escuela Padre Abreu, Hogar del Niño. Her dedication was to girls of the middle and high school grades, whom she referred as …”my girls” with enthusiasm. Ruth”s “girls” loved her; they responded to her enthusiasm in kind. They loved being with her, learning to speak English, and rising with a hunger to succeed.
Ruth game here to enjoy vacation time. She left an indelible mark in the lives of many, but especially in the lives of her “gems”.
— Peggy Goldberg
“I am very sad and miss her immensely, she was a fabulous woman whom I got to share fascinating moments of life with. Ruthie had a very open mind and we would spend time conversing about deep and interesting subjects. She would burn CDs for me of old Cuban music, one of her favorites being Nat King Cole singing songs in Havana. She always loved to go to watch me dance here in Casa de Campo when Riomarina was open, she loved dancing. Ruth is always in my heart.”
— Bibi Leon
“We first met Ruth and Bernie at an opening at the Galeria in Altos de Chavon around 1986. We were living in Cleveland at the time and had just bought our villa. The next time we saw them was the following year at the San Juan airport, where we had a long layover for our flight to the DR. Those few hours really cemented our friendship.
A couple of years later, Ruth and Bernie came to Cleveland for our golf invitational where Ruth won the closest to the pin on a particularly challenging par three. And when the Grossman’s opened their gallery of Dominican art in Pittsburgh, we drove over for the opening celebration. Shortly after that, Rik took a job with Blue Cross in Pittsburgh. For me, the move was quite difficult as I was leaving family and life-long friends. Luckily, we already had good friends in the Grossman’s. I will never forget Ruth’s kindness in making us feel a welcome part of their family. Since 1996, we have been included in all their Jewish holidays and important family events.
It is difficult to imagine Pittsburgh and our wonderful community in Casa de Campo without her. But to live in the hearts we leave behind is to never die. Ruth lives on…..”
— Patti Rambasek & Rik Laird
“Ruth Grossman, I miss her. Feisty, unorthodox, opinionated, wise, and wonderfully warm, this fine woman didn’t fit the mold. From her frontier Texas border town youth, to the caring help she provided for so many Dominicans, Ruth wasn’t typical.
There was the help she always was there to give, the advice and encouragement. Her support went to, now well-established, Jose Ignacio (El Artistico) as he took his first steps to become an internationally recognized craftsman, to Jorge Caridad’s fledgling move into the sophisticated world of jewelry design and to the English lessons she lovingly provided for the girls at the Hogar del Niño.
Ruth loved art and artists, she adored teaching and nurturing others. She saw people who were invisible to others. This was a woman who believed in people, who loved the country and people of the Dominican Republic… and did so much for them.
Her evenings and dinners were always a high point, a time for like minds to enjoy good food and conversation. She is gone and leaves a big hole in my heart, but my memory of her is vivid and her good works are her legacy.”
— Stephen Kaplan, Rector of the Altos de Chavón School of Art and Design
To end with we bring you a beautiful note from Ruth Grossman’s daughter, Alice, whom upon hearing about this tribute to her mother wanted to share her gratitude to all those who loved and cared for Ruth during her time in Casa de Campo.
“I’d just like to say that for me it was amazing to see how my mother created a whole new life for herself in the Dominican. She had so many close friends and made a huge impact on many people. It was heartening to know that when she was there alone after my father passed away, that she was surrounded by many loving and caring people. She brought much joy into her friends’ lives. My family had great fun with her in the Dominican and we will always have fond memories of the time spent with her there.”
— Alice Grossman