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Ruth H. Denick, retired law firm bookkeeper who volunteered in Jewish organizations and enjoyed theater, dies

Ruth H. Denick was Bass & Denick's bookkeeper for more than 50 years.
Ruth H. Denick was Bass & Denick's bookkeeper for more than 50 years.

Ruth H. Denick, a retired law firm bookkeeper who with her husband always celebrated their wedding anniversary with a glass of sparkling burgundy, died last Wednesday of the coronavirus at her North Oaks Retirement Community home in Owings Mills. The former longtime Lutherville resident was 91.

Ruth Horrowitz, a Newark, New Jersey, native, was a 22-year-old graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park who married her college sweetheart, Theodore “Ted” Denick, on Dec. 24, 1950. The newlyweds, who were married in her hometown, celebrated their marriage with a glass of sparkling burgundy, and continued doing so for the next 69 years.

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The Denick family always dined out on Christmas Eve and then returned home to share a glass of their wedding wine.

“We used to go to Maria’s 300 in Little Italy and then other places such as Linwoods,” said her son, John H. Denick, a Pikesville resident. “It wasn’t that they liked sparkling burgundy, but it was a tradition since it had been served at their wedding, so they drank it annually for good luck. The last time was last December.”

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Even if the couple were abroad, they continued the tradition.

“One year, we went to a kibbutz in Israel, and I had to schlep the bottle of wine in my suitcase. I was so afraid if the bottle broke my clothes would be ruined,” the son said with a laugh. “But nothing happened.”

The former Ruth Horrowitz, daughter of Samuel Horrowitz, president of Clifton Savings & Loan Association, and his wife, Pearl Sientz Horrowitz, a homemaker, was born and raised in Newark.

After graduating from Weequahic High School in Newark, Mrs. Denick enrolled at the University of Maryland where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1949 in economics and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She met her future husband, a World War II Army veteran who was also a student at Maryland, at a Hillel event in 1946. While her husband attended the University of Maryland Law School, she worked at an import company.

After her husband established Bass & Denick in the Munsey Building in downtown Baltimore, Mrs. Denick was the firm’s bookkeeper for more than 50 years.

“His forte was real estate law,” said his son, whose father later joined his firm, John H. Denick & Associates P.A.

“Given her financial acumen, she was a supportive partner in helping her husband develop his law practice and handled many bookkeeping responsibilities at the law firm once their children reached school age,” her son wrote in a biographical sketch of his mother.

“She was intelligent, accomplished and resilient. She was witty and never hesitated to speak her mind. She held herself and her family to high standards,” Mr. Denick wrote. “She knew how to run meetings and she knew finances.”

Mrs. Denick was a strong supporter of her son’s interests in the Boy Scouts and later in political campaigns, and her daughter, Carol Ann Denick’s, interests in design and crafts.

“She also encouraged younger women in professional roles,” the son said in a telephone interview.

Mrs. Denick was a longtime volunteer who held numerous leadership positions in Jewish women’s organizations. She had been president of the United Order of True Sisters and the Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland. She and her husband were members of Beth El Congregation where she was active in its sisterhood.

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A socially engaged person, Mrs. Denick enjoyed presiding over family Thanksgiving and Passover dinners and dinner parties for her myriad friends. For more than 50 years, she and her husband held an open house each Rosh Hashana holiday for friends and business associates.

She maintained a lifelong friendship with sorority sisters Bunny Roseman and June Sachs and their husbands, and for decades the three couples had a standing Tuesday evening dinner date.

“Family and friends often remember Ruth, with cigarette in hand, laughing at her husband’s jokes,” her son wrote.

She enjoyed playing bridge, knitting and socializing with her many friends and neighbors on Woodland Drive in Lutherville where she lived for 44 years before moving to Quarry Lake.

For many years, she bowled on Fridays with a group of girlfriends, which was followed by a hair appointment.

“For her, life would end if she couldn’t get to the manicurist and beautician on Fridays,” her son said.

She and her husband shared a love of the outdoors and built a cabin in The Woods in Hedgesville, West Virginia, in the state’s Eastern Panhandle, where they spent weekends and part of the summer for more than two decades. They were also members of the Baltimore Bunch Camping Club.

“They learned to play golf there. They weren’t very good, but they had lots of fun,” her son said.

The couple also liked traveling abroad with children and grandchildren or visiting resorts or taking cruises to mark milestone wedding anniversaries.

A theater buff, she and her husband had been for years subscribers to the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre and Center Stage.

Since 2013, she and her husband lived at North Oak, where she became an active member of the North Oaks Choir and where she especially enjoyed belting out Broadway show tunes.

For the past eight weeks, Mr. Denick was unable to be with his wife who entered into hospice care at North Oaks on April 27. A day before her death she tested positive for the coronavirus.

Only her husband and close family members were able to attend Mrs. Denick’s graveside funeral, which was held the next day at Beth El Congregation Cemetery.

“My dad is 93, and he’s been a warrior all of his life. He’s tough. He’s from New York,” his son said. “But, he’s processed it. Since the funeral, he’s been quarantined in his apartment. My mother’s life was defined by quality and quantity.”

In addition to her husband and son, Mrs. Denick is survived by three grandchildren and two great-granddaughters. Her daughter, Carol Ann Denick, owner of Paper Hang Up, a Cold Spring Lane wallpaper and interior design store, died of cancer in 2004.

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