Ruth Freeman
November 6, 2023

Visitation Information

November 10 2023 - 11:00 am
Friends may meet at Ralph Schugar, 5509 Centre Avenue, (Shadyside) Pittsburgh, 15232

Funeral Information

November 10 2023 - 12:00 pm
Shaare Torah Cemetery, Stewart Avenue, Pittsburgh (Carrick) 15227

RUTH FREEMAN: On Monday, November 6, 2023. Beloved partner of Fredrick Rossi, Jr. Loving mother of Cheri Riznyk and Michael Klawansky. Sister of Sylvia Ali. Grandmother of Clio Riznyk. Born in 1940, Ruth was named after her mother's favorite cousin and childhood playmate Ruth Poritsky, who sadly perished in Auschwitz. Ruth was profoundly affected by the Holocaust, and the stories about the loss of relatives and millions of others. Like her mother, Ruth found art to be a kind of spiritual liberation. As a way of coping with life's adversities, Ruth always expressed herself through art. 

Ruth was the second daughter of Irma and Louis Freeman. She was raised in Pittsburgh during the post-war years in a traditional Jewish home, attending Temple and Hebrew school regularly. She began painting as a child and won prizes while attending Peabody High School. She also attended the Carnegie Museum Art classes led by Joseph Fitzpatrick. After graduating she enrolled in and studied at Carnegie Tech from 1958 to 1962. Ruth said as an art student she often painted with her mother. While at Carnegie Tech she studied under Samuel Rosenberg and William Libby. During college she worked at a local coffee shop where she was among the beatnik crowd. Ruth started teaching full-time as a substitute teacher in Pittsburgh Public Schools which she found extremely difficult and stressful, so much so that she became ill. After recovering she was given a scholarship to attend Ivy School of Professional Art, and was able to get a job with Joseph Hornes, both drawing and doing layouts for print ads. In 1966 Ruth married Saul Klawansky, who had two children at home from a previous marriage; the couple had one boy, Michael. The family moved to Israel where Ruthie flourished. First she taught many subjects, but soon got work as a commercial artist and other art jobs. However the marriage failed and she returned to Pittsburgh with her son. 

Ruth pursued art education at Carlow College, and after receiving her teaching degree, she taught at Saint Mary's and also received grants to work at an alternative high school at Presbyterian Church in East Liberty. Ruth remembers the experience fondly. She says she enjoyed working there because there were very small, informal classes, with no discipline issues. She later went back to subbing for the Pittsburgh public schools, and worked there for many years. Ruth had been a practicing artist for most of her life. For years she was extremely prolific, and worked in printing and design, as well as painting. Ruth first showed her work alongside her mother, Irma Freeman. She had many Works in group and solo exhibitions over the years.

In her work, artist Ruth Freeman gave concrete form to figures from her fantasies, including mermaids, flying figures and imaginary animals. The media she used to give form to these fantastical images varied from two-dimensional acrylic paintings to prints made from watercolor or ink monotype and wood-cut or linoleum-cut relief. Freeman had exhibited her work and shows by the Pittsburgh print group and Associated artists of Pittsburgh and at Mellon 

Bank, Pittsburgh Artist Gallery, Shadyside Arts Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival and Westmoreland Museum. She also exhibited her work in an immigrant print show in Jerusalem, Israel. Her illustrations appeared on the covers of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

Ruth gained a commercial art degree from The Ivy School of Professional Art. She taught drawing at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and art at various centers of Education in Pittsburgh. Ruth says that as an art student she often painted with her mother. While Ruth continued in search of her own style, she believed that she both influenced, and was influenced by her mother's craft. she also exuded the spirit of her mother, who was by nature sympathetic to the Bohemian lifestyle.

Friends may meet at Ralph Schugar Chapel, Inc., 5509 Centre Avenue, Shadyside on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 11 AM and then proceed to Shaare Torah Cemetery for 12 Noon Graveside Services. Contributions may be made to The Irma Freeman Center for Imagination, 5006 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224.


Send Condolence

My sincere sympathy to the Freeman and Ali family. Ruth was a wonderful and sensitive human being, so kind and talented. She was my neighbor on Pierce Street when I was a young girl the Freeman family wad so wonderful great people! I remember Ruthie as a beautiful young woman. Rest in peace Ruth I’m sure you’re going to continue your painting! Janet (Simon) Beerhalter

By Janet Simon Beerhalter - November 12, 2023

My deepest condolences to the Freeman Family. I didn’t know Ruth very well but what I did know she was a very kind and caring person. When our mother passed away this February and was extremely sadden, she sent me this mother/daughter statue, which was so thoughtful and helped in my sorrow. My brother and Ruth shared the love of art, this is what brought them together for 18 loving years. May she rest in peace. Praying for the Freeman family and all the Israel people involved in this terrible war.

By Mary Soscia (Fred’s oldest sister) - November 10, 2023

My deepest condolences to Ruth’s family and my brother Fred. May you find peace and strength during this difficult time. I’ll always remember Ruth as being a warm loving person with extraordinary talent.

By Stephanie Palumbo - November 07, 2023