Ruth S. Malmstrom Obituary

Ruth S.  Malmstrom
Ruth S. Malmstrom

September 12, 1934 - March 29, 2019
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resided in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida


Dr. Ruth S. Malmstrom of Palm City, Florida (formerly of Bridgewater, New Jersey) passed away peacefully Friday, March 29, 2019. She was born September 12, 1934 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to parents Blanche and Fred Strohm.

Ruth attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls where she was senior class president and graduated summa cum laude. At graduation, she received the prestigious Mayor’s Scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania. While a student at Penn’s College for Women she was the President of Chi Omega women’s fraternity. She earned her undergraduate degree in Economics in 1956 and was a loyal Penn alumna all her life. While at Penn, she met her future husband, Morris (Mal) A. Malmstrom, Jr. and they were married in July 1957.

After graduation, Ruth joined IBM as a Systems Engineer, providing technical instruction and assistance in the Federal Systems Division. She worked on computer installations at Fort Dix, Fort Monmouth, McGuire Air Force Base, Lakehurst Naval Air Station, and Johnsville Naval Air Development Center. At Johnsville, she had the unique opportunity to teach a class in programming languages to the original seven Mercury astronauts. With IBM, she was also guest lecturer at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Ruth was truly a pioneer for women in the computer field.

Ruth and Mal moved to Bridgewater, New Jersey and started a family in 1960. When her children were young, she raised her family and became active in the community serving as the Chair of the Somerset County UNICEF Drive, President of the local PTA, and President of the Bridgewater-Raritan Council of Schools.

In 1968, Ruth joined the newly opened Somerset County College (later renamed Raritan Valley Community College) helping to develop the Data Processing Program. During her 33 years at RVCC, Ruth worked her way up the academic ranks from part-time instructor to full professor and department chair. While at RVCC, she earned both her Masters and Doctorate degrees in higher education from Rutgers University. From 1983 to her retirement in 2001, she was the Chair of the Computer Information Systems Department and led the college into the computer age.

Ruth received many recognitions over the years. In 1990, she was invited by the United States Information Agency to travel to Saudi Arabia and advise on computer training programs for Saudi women. Ruth was one of the first four women to join the Somerville Rotary in 1987; she later served as a Board Member and was named a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award given by Rotary International. She received the Woman of Achievement Award from the Rolling Hills Council of the Girl Scouts of America and also received awards from the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce and the Middle States Accrediting Association for Colleges and Universities. Ruth served as a Board Member and Trustee of Alternatives, Inc, an organization that supports special needs adults and their families.

Ruth moved to Palm City, Florida in 2006 and continued her active lifestyle serving as Vice President of the Monarch Women’s Club, tutoring children at local schools and serving as club chair for a scholarship program for area high school students.

Ruth was an avid traveler and travelled extensively throughout the world, visiting six out of seven continents. She shared her love of travel with her family and took her grandchildren on many European adventures. Ruth and her husband Mal enjoyed spending summers with their family and friends at their shore house on Long Beach Island, NJ for many decades.

Ruth was a very accomplished woman whose greatest joy in life was spending time with her family and many close friends. She was always the life of the party and made friends everywhere she went. Ruth was loved by all who knew her and will be missed dearly.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Blanche and Fred Strohm, and her husband, Mal Malmstrom. She is survived by her daughter, Beth Lyons and her husband, Bernie, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; her son, Morris Malmstrom, III, and his wife, Linda, of Neshanic Station, New Jersey; her beloved grandchildren, Caroline, Betsy, and Dan Lyons, Melissa Kormeluk, and her husband, Tim, and Mark Malmstrom; her brother, Fred Strohm, and his wife, Nora, of Louisville, Kentucky, her nephew, Connor Strohm; and her partner of twelve years, Charlie Irace, of Palm City, Florida.

There will be a visitation Friday, April 5, 2019 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Bruce C. VanArsdale Funeral Home, 111 N. Gaston Ave, Somerville, NJ. A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 6, 2019 at First United Methodist Church of Somerville, 48 West High Street, Somerville, NJ. A remembrance will be held in Palm City, FL at a later date.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Alternatives, Inc.,




Bruce C. Van Arsdale Funeral Home
111 North Gaston Avenue
Somerville, NJ US 08876
Friday, April 5, 2019
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
48 West High Street
Somerville, NJ US 08876
Saturday, April 6, 2019
10:30 AM
Somerset Hills Memorial Park
Mt. Airy Road
Basking Ridge, NJ US
Saturday, April 6, 2019


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