April 22 2018: ERK, Ruth Parker


On April 19, 2018, Ruth Parker Erk (nee Hobgood), age 91, passed away peacefully at her retirement community in Silver Spring, MD. She died of oral carcinoma. Of English heritage, she was born on April 17, 1927, the daughter of Elvy and Ethel Parker Hobgood, of Evansville, IN. Ruth was educated in the public schools of Evansville, and graduated from Evansville College with a degree in music and piano performance. After she married her fellow student, Frank C. Erk, the couple moved to Baltimore where her husband entered graduate studies. During their 69 years of marriage, Ruth continued to express her musical talents by teaching piano students privately, conducting church choirs, playing the organ for public occasions, was a member of a piano quartet, and playing in English handbell groups. When the couple moved to Long Island, where Frank became a university faculty member, Ruth continued her interest in the bass violin, which she played first in high school, and then in symphonic orchestras in Long island. She also sang in choruses wherever she lived, both in New York and England. After she raised their three girls, Ruth returned to college and became a librarian, after which she worked as an editor at the H W Wilson Co. in the Bronx, New York. She returned to the Smithtown Library (NY) system, and became director of one of their branches. Ruth was an activist for many worthy causes, and served in the League of Women Voters for more than 60 years in various leadership capacities. She was active in the church activities of the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ, where she served on leadership committees and sang in the choir. Ruth was the backbone of the family. She never wavered. She lovingly supported each person’s interest and encouraged them always to achieve their heart’s desire. She will be sorely missed. She is survived by her husband, her three daughters, Susan, Elisabeth, and Stephanie, five grandchildren, Megan, Deanna, Paul, Carlene, and Sonia; her sister, Julia Hobgood Wood, of Evansville, IN, and nieces and nephews. Ruth’s celebration of life will be held on April 28, 2018 at 2 p.m. at the Riderwood Chapel, 3140 Gracefield Road, Silver Spring, MD 20904. Memorial gifts may be made to the Christ Congregational Church, Silver Spring, MD, or to Casey House of Montgomery Hospice, Rockville, MD.


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Francis J. Collins Funeral Home, Inc.
500 University Blvd. West
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Phone: 301.593.9500