Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Epilogue | Clarice Marie Ruder

Clarice Marie Ruder's friendly nature was perfect for a librarian

TAMPA — For somebody who knew how to live in the moment, Clarice Ruder sure thought ahead. She rose through the ranks of the Tampa-Hillsborough library system by keeping abreast of changing technology. She handled customers and employees with a direct and friendly style.

She did so well that her bosses selected her to open the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library and placed her in charge of creating inventory.

She didn't complain about health problems or let them keep her from going to work. But from her 40s on, Mrs. Ruder knew she was looking at a shorter lifespan compared to other women her age. A "rogue gene" affecting the heart runs in her family, one so rare it has been studied by Harvard researchers, her husband said.

Rather than pass it on, she refrained from having children.

Mrs. Ruder, a 34-year veteran of Hillsborough County's library system who left her stamp on the content and design of the Platt library, died Monday, three weeks after her retirement. She was 61.

"They don't make librarians like Clarice anymore," said Joe Stines, Tampa-Hillsborough's director of libraries.

Ken Kister met Clarice Ruder in 1974, when her resume stood out among a stack of applications for the librarian's job in Palm Beach County.

"She had such glowing references," said Kister, 74. "The word 'nice' was used. The word 'pleasant' was used."

Within months of Mrs. Ruder starting her job as an adult services librarian, she and Kister began dating. They married in 1975 (she kept her last name) and moved to Tampa the next year, where Mrs. Ruder hired on at the John F. Germany Public Library in history and genealogy services.

They enjoyed concerts on weekends and traveled when they could. She liked to get dirty in the garden, and was always jotting down horticulture tips she found. She drove a Honda, packed every garbage bag full before taking it out, and arrived at the grocery store with foreknowledge of every two-for-one bargain available.

The library system promoted her to head the Riverview Branch Library and what is now called the Charles J. Fendig Public Library.

In 1997 at the Fendig library, Mrs. Ruder spotted a dark-haired man calling up images of nude women on a library computer, and showing them to young boys beside him. The story came to symbolize the dark side of the Internet.

Opening the Platt library in 2000 was a dream come true. It would become her legacy as heart trouble cut her years short.

"She took that on as if it were her child," said Jan Platt, the former Hillsborough county commissioner for whom the library is named. "It was a unique opportunity, and thank goodness it was Clarice."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at (727) 892-2248 or ameacham@sptimes.com.

>>Biography

Clarice Marie Ruder

Born: May 31, 1948.

Died: May 24, 2010.

Survivors: Husband Kenneth Kister; brothers Donald, Paul and Thomas Ruder; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Service: 7 p.m. Tuesday; Brewer & Sons Funeral Home, 3328 S Dale Mabry Highway. In lieu of flowers, donate a favorite book or DVD to the library.

Clarice Marie Ruder's friendly nature was perfect for a librarian 05/28/10 [Last modified: Friday, May 28, 2010 8:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Manhattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. FSU-Bama 'almost feels like a national championship game Week 1'

    Blogs

    The buzz is continuing to build for next Saturday's blockbuster showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Florida State.

  3. Plan a fall vacation at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens when crowds are light

    Florida

    Now that the busy summer vacation season is ending, Floridians can come out to play.

    Maria Reyna, 8, of Corpus Cristi, TX. eats chicken at the Lotus Blossom Cafe at the Chinese pavilion at Epcot in Orlando, Fla. on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  Epcot is celebrating it's 35th year as the upcoming Food and Wine Festival kicks off once again.
  4. USF spends $1.5 million to address growing demand for student counseling

    College

    TAMPA — As Florida's universities stare down a mental health epidemic, the University of South Florida has crafted a plan it hopes will reach all students, from the one in crisis to the one who doesn't know he could use some help.

    A student crosses the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, where visits to the school's crisis center more than doubled last year, part of a spike in demand that has affected colleges across the country. The university is addressing the issue this year with $1.5 million for more "wellness coaches," counselors, online programs and staff training. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. PTA treasurer at Pinellas school accused of stealing $5,000

    Crime

    The treasurer of the Parent-Teacher Association at a Pinellas County elementary school faces a felony fraud charge after she was accused of stealing from the organization to pay her credit card and phone bills.

    Lisa McMenamin, 50, of Tarpon Springs, is facing felony charges of scheming to defraud the Brooker Creek Elementary Parent-Teacher Association, where she served as treasurer. She is accused of stealing $5,000 to pay credit card and phone bills. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]