Whether they showed up to visit at noon or midnight, Ruth Gold’s family always knew to expect a warm welcome and table full of food.
“Without fail, she would greet us and have this whole smorgasbord ready,” said Gold’s grandson Alex Holt of Baltimore. “She was a very devoted grandmother ... and the consummate hostess.”
Gold, 96, died of coronavirus-induced pneumonia on April 23. The Astoria native and longtime Plainview resident had recently moved to the Atria in East Northport.
She is remembered as a woman of style and taste, with an eye for great outfits and interesting antiques. For Thanksgiving dinners, she would “prepare enough food for all of Long Island,” said her daughter Karen Holt, and she loved singing classics like “A Bushel and a Peck.”
She was also a doting mother and grandmother who took a vested interest in her family’s talents. Once she heard about the preparatory division at Juilliard, she got her son involved, and when Karen expressed interest in acting, she signed her up for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. When her grandkids published articles, performed in orchestras or starred in plays, she was a consistent voice of support.
“She really took immense pride and pleasure in her grandchildren’s accomplishments,” Alex said. “It was the perfect pick-me-up in terms of self-confidence.”
Gold had plenty of her own accomplishments of which to be proud. She had just begun classes at Brooklyn College when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and she soon entered the workforce, beginning as a secretary and working her way up to assistant to the president at Saks 34th (an offshoot of Saks Fifth Avenue).
Her love of education persisted and she took a night business class at New York University in 1948. It was there that she met her husband, Rube Gold. The two became instant sweethearts, weaving an “absolute love story from start to finish,” Karen said.
After leaving work to start a family, Gold returned to college in 1968, enrolling in the Queens College Adult Continuing Education Program and earning her bachelor’s and a master’s degree in counseling. She dedicated the next 30 years of her career to the Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs (now known as the Office of the Aging), rising through the ranks to become the department’s director of communications. She retired in 2008 at age 84.
“She was a legend in that department. When families were trying to figure out what services they needed, she directed them,” Karen said. “She really found her niche working with families. She was a problem solver.”
Besides her daughter and grandson, Gold is survived by a son, Ken Gold; son-in-law Jonathan Holt and daughter-in-law Risa Levenson Gold; five other grandchildren; and her great granddaughter. Her husband predeceased her in 1990.
At her funeral service in April, the family honored her memory by singing one of her favorite songs: “Side by Side.”