Ruth Friedberg Obituary (2021) – San Antonio, Texas

Ruth Crane Friedberg, 93, died on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. She was predeceased by her beloved husband for over 60 years, Dr. Samuel J. Friedberg, her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Crane and her sister Phyllis Crane Chaffin. She was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She was a valedictorian at Atlantic City High School. At the age of 17, she played the piano in the Miss America pageant in which Bess Meyerson became the first Jewish Miss America.

She attended Bryn Mawr College and received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Phi Beta Kappa at Barnard College, New York City, NY. She received a master’s degree in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her career teaching at the New School of Music in Philadelphia, PA, and performed with the New School of Music Trio. She was a member of the music faculty at Duke University for 10 years. After moving to San Antonio, she worked with the San Antonio Symphony and a choral group known as The Master Singers. She was a music teacher at Incarnate Word College for many years, where she established the music therapy program in the music department. She was also the founder of the Institute for Expressive Therapeutic Arts at the Ecumenical Center as well as a past member of the Board of Trustees.

During her long career, she published numerous books on the piano, The American Art Song as well as several collections of poetry. More recently, with the help of friends, Awaken Memories was released, a compilation of her poetry, music, and works by her husband. She has also recorded numerous performances of The American Art Song as well as Ladino Music. She has performed and lectured throughout the United States and around the world, sharing her love and passion for The American Art Song and Ladino Music. She has been instrumental in helping other artists, especially as students, to establish their musical careers. Her passion for music was endless as she continued to teach the piano to many people, including her grandsons, as well as to lecture and perform in public.

Additionally, along with her husband, she was instrumental in establishing RMI (Achieving Maximum Independence) in San Antonio as one of the premier community housing organizations for people with developmental intellectual disabilities (IDD) . She was also a member of the board of directors for many years.

She is survived by her son, Dr. Michael Friedberg (Barbara), her daughter, Jean Friedberg, her grandsons, John Samuel Friedberg and Joseph Michael Friedberg all of San Antonio; nieces, Bernadette Wolffe (Wayne) of Arlington, VA and Beryl Bayer, Morristown, FL; nephews Dr Andrew Wolffe of Nogales, AZ, Dr Joel Bayer (Karen), Bluffton, SC and Len Bayer (Lori), Rochester, NY.

A remembrance service will be held on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm at Temple Beth El. Rabbi Sam Stahl and Cantor Julie Berlin will officiate.

We would like to thank those who took care of Ruth: Dr Bradley Kayser, Dr Joe Holahan, Dr Jermiah Brown, Rabbi Sam Stahl, River City Hospice and the staff of Caring Solutions as well as many friends.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made on her behalf to: UIW Music Therapy Program, 4301 Broadway, CPO # 309, San Antonio, TX, 78209; Ecumenical Center, 8310 Ewing Halsell, San Antonio, Texas 78229; The Center for Artistic Song for Poets and Musicians (; ABODE Hospice (; Disability SA ( or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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Posted by Express-News on September 17, 2021.

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