Ruth Adams Robinhold, 99, of Lafayette Hill, a founder of the Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club, died Dec. 13 of pneumonia at Chestnut Hill Hospital.
In 1938, when rowing was a predominantly male sport, Mrs. Robinhold advertised in a local newspaper, seeking women to form a rowing club. Of the nearly 100 women who showed up, 17 paid a $5 monthly fee to form the club, which is believed to be the oldest competitive rowing club in the United States.
In 1968 the organization was the first American women’s rowing club to win the U.S. National Rowing Championships. In 1967, the club represented the United States in international competition at the European Championships in Vichy, France.
Mrs. Robinhold, who continued to row on the Schuylkill well into her 80s, met her first husband while preparing to row. In 1939, William Robinhold, of the Undine Barge Club, helped carry her boat to the dock. They were married for 64 years until his death in 2003.
She retired in 1969 as a manager of mortgage insurance at First Pennsylvania Bank in Center City, where she had worked for 20 years. Earlier she had worked as a cost account at the John B. Stetson Hat Co.
A graduate of Germantown High School, she spent most of her life in Lafayette Hill, where she raised many strains of rhododendron and won awards at the American Rhododendron Society in the Philadelphia Chapter Truss Show. She was a volunteer on the Whitemarsh Township Shade Tree Commission for five years.
During World War II she did volunteer work for the Eighth Air Force and also was a volunteer nurse’s aide at Hahnemann Hospital.
Mrs. Robinhold moved in 2004 to Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill, where she met Richard Henderson. They were married in 2007.
In addition to her husband she is survived by a niece and nephew.
Funeral services were held Dec. 18 at the Lownes Funeral Home in Lafayette Hill. Memorial donations may be made to Zion Lutheran Church, 654 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, PA 19031. – WF
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