With the death of Ruth Schrum at age 90 on Sunday, Manhattan has lost a committed community and political activist.
Mrs. Schrum wore many hats during her life.
She was an educator and a businesswoman who with her husband, Neil, owned both the Balloon Boutique Gift Shop and Schrum Rentals, a property management firm. She also was one of the founding members of the Landlords Association of Manhattan.
She also was active in the Democratic Party in Kansas and served as chair of the Riley County Democratic Party in the 1980s and 1990s. Although she ran for several positions, she was most effective in garnering support for some of the party’s other candidates.
Locally, she became one of the most committed opponents of construction of Manhattan Town Center in the 1980s and later the downtown renovation that has dramatically changed Third Street. Though we didn’t see eye to eye with her on either issue, we could not help but admire the single-mindedness with which she fought for what she believed in.
What we most fondly remember about Mrs. Schrum is that she never stopped believing in and trying to improve Manhattan.
A community is blessed to have such individuals.