Sunday, March 26, 2023

A tribute to dear Adirondack friend, Ruth Kuhfahl


Ruth Kuhfahl

By Lorraine Duvall

March 25, 2023 – A dear Adirondack friend, Ruth Kuhfahl, died March 22, 2023 at the Adirondack Health hospital in Saranac Lake after experiencing a stroke at the age of 99. She was known for her many contributions to multiple organizations in the Adirondacks. Ruth began hiking and paddling in the High Peaks region in the 1970s with her friends from the Buffalo chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club. They hosted a reunion for her 95th birthday with a hike to John’s Brook Lodge in 2015.

Friend, Karen Boldis, told me that they hummed Pomp & Circumstance as they approached the lodge. Karen said, “I loved seeing Ruth hike with a set of pearls!  Every person who passed us on the trail either coming or going in seemed to know Ruth.”

Ruth joined this chapter in 1973, and was an early president in 1977-78. She retired to Keene Valley in 1989. I first met Ruth after I moved to Keene in 1999. My fondest memories are paddling trips
in our Hornbeck boats. We also had fun visiting Adirondack venues around the Park, including The Wild Center.


Betsy Dirnberger wrote: “We are all so lucky that Ruth was with us for so many years.  I’m more grateful than sad…she certainly did so much that was good and kind, and useful.  Could we bronze her a hat, put it jauntily on a shovel, as a memorial by the side of the little pond off Hull’s Falls Road, where the bittern would sometimes stop?”

Ruth Kuhfahl

Ruth Kuhfahl. Photo by Lorraine Duvall.

Ruth Kuhfahl

Ruth Kuhfahl. Photo by Jeri Wright.

Ruth did not want a memorial service. Plans are underway to have a celebration this summer.


Read more about Ruth by checking out this Adirondack Explorer story:

Ruth Kuhfahl: A friend to many, known for her trail work ethic, written by Adirondack Explorer publisher, Tracy Ormsbee


Note: The Winter issue, 2016, of Adirondac contains the article, “The Great JBL Reunion” about the JBL weekend written by Lennie Steinmetz & Wilma Cipolla.

Photo at top: Ruth Kuhfahl. Photo by Jeri Wright.

Related Stories

Award winning author Lorraine Duvall's newest book contains stories about where she has lived in the Adirondacks for the last 24 years, titled "Where The Styles Brook Waters Flow: The Place I Call Home." She writes of her paddling adventures in the book "In Praise of Quiet Waters: Finding Solitude and Adventure in the Wild Adirondacks." Some experiences from her memoir, "And I Know Too Much to Pretend," led her to research a woman's commune north of Warrensburg, resulting in the 2019 book, "Finding A Woman's Place: The story of a 1970s feminist collective in the Adirondacks." Duvall lives in Keene and is on the board of Protect the Adirondacks.

4 Responses

  1. Josh Wilson says:

    As a teenager I joined one of Ruth’s “Easy Projects” on the Marble Mountain trail up Whiteface. It was my first official volunteer trail day. Thank you to Ruth for her many contributions to the Adirondacks and for sharing her passion for trail stewardship with so many people over the years.

  2. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Listen to an interview with Ruth for the Adirondack Community story project.
    “Almost 98” and Still Kickin’

  3. Jean Dohman says:

    Beautiful tribute to Ruth! I did not know her, but I feel like I do now. Yet another amazing Adirondack Woman! Thanks for a great write up Lorraine – Jean Dohman

  4. Vanessa B says:

    RIP <3. 99 years is an amazing run.

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