Ruth Roehm Lemkau, 91, volunteer, social worker


Ruth Roehm Lemkau, a longtime volunteer and former social worker, died Sunday of natural causes at her home in Lusby, Calvert County. She was 91.

The Greenville, Ohio, native was a social worker after earning a degree in home economics at Baldwin-Wallace College in her home state. She then followed her high school sweetheart, Paul V. Lemkau, to Baltimore, where he attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They were engaged for eight years before marrying in 1934.

Dr. Lemkau became the first chairman of the Department of Mental Hygiene at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. The two traveled the world as he served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and other agencies.

While raising her family, she volunteered for many groups, including Towson United Methodist Church and the League of Women Voters. Mrs. Lemkau also was host to foreign exchange students through the American Field Service, which brings teen-agers to the United States.

Her family referred to Mrs. Lemkau as "Mother, the Martyr," because she always put others' needs before her own. She was "very intuitive," said a daughter, Ann Houpt of Summit, N.J. "She could always tell what other people wanted" before they had said anything.

Mrs. Lemkau returned to social work for a few years at the School of the Chimes, which serves mentally disabled children, after her children were grown.

She and her husband raised their family in Baltimore County and later moved into a log cabin in Lusby, where Mrs. Lemkau enjoyed gardening, bird-watching and needlework. Her husband died in 1992.

A memorial service for Mrs. Lemkau, whose body was donated to the Maryland Anatomy Board, will be held Nov. 16 at Middleham Chapel in Lusby.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Lemkau is survived by a son, Philip Lemkau of Yellow Springs, Ohio; three other daughters, Mary Horn of Micanopy, Fla., Elizabeth Wheeler of Fayetteville, Ark., and Carolyn Steiner of Elkridge; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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