Tributes for

Charles, Ruth

Ruth J. Charles, known to many as Glendale’s “Mrs. Music”, passed away peacefully on September 5, 2014. She was 89.

Ruth was born in Birmingham, Michigan, June 26, 1925. In 1947, she and her late husband, Dick, both graduates of Michigan State University, moved to California. In 1950 they founded the Charles Music Store and Studios on Glendale Avenue. From the beginning, it was and remains today a highly successful and respected institution where, in the beginning, Dick concentrated on band instrument sales and Ruth, in addition to running the store, taught piano and organ. Until recently, she continued to teach privately in her home where she has positively impacted the lives of many students, both adults and beginners.

She received many prestigious community and religious awards, some of which she displayed on the walls of her large home and connecting studio for students and guests to enjoy with her. Among her most current recognitions are: Woman of the Year, Glendale Chamber of Commerce; Woman of Achievement, Glendale News Press; Community Service Award (2001), Glendale Chamber of Commerce; Woman of Distinction Award, Soroptimist International; Distinguished Alumni Award, College of Arts and Letter, Michigan State University; Lifetime Achievement Award, Glendale City College; Humankindness Award, Glendale Memorial Hospital. Ruth also served as President of the Women’s Committee for the Glendale Symphony Orchestra during the time when Carmen Dragon was conductor and the events were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Her generous support of community and private foundations is legendary. She established music scholarship funds in both her husband’s and her names at Michigan State University and Glendale Community College. In 2011, the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, California, founded and staffed by the National Association of Music Merchants, added a new wing to the Museum,

The Charles Museum Store, in memory and honor of Dick and Ruth Charles for their dedication to the music products industry and profession and their continual contributions to music education.

Ruth is survived by her two children, Richard E. Charles, Jr. of Pasadena, California and Joann Mary Van Cleave of Newport Beach, California, two grandchildren, Shannon Lasowitz of Midlothian, Virginia and Mark Montenegro of Long Beach, California and one great grandson, David Lasowitz and her sister, Doris Prenzler of Bloomington, Illinois.

She will be buried next to her husband in a private ceremony at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery. A public memorial service will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church, 209 East Lomita Avenue, Glendale, CA 91205 (818) 242-2222 on Friday, September 12th at 11AM. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, 500 North Victory Boulevard, Burbank, California 91502.


Mortuary: Callanan & Woods-Scovern Funerals

Florist: BloomNation