Ruth Barnard, the last surviving founder of Vita-Mix Corp., passed away on June 25.
Born Ruth Mona Pellet on June 4, 1913, she served as vice president of Vita-Mix from 1955 to 1985 under her husband, William G. Barnard Jr.
Ruth grew up in Atlantic, IA, and Hamilton, IL with her three brothers. Her father, Frank C. Pellet, was an author and editor of the American Bee Journal.
After attending Carthage College in Illinois, she married Bill in November 1934 and moved to Olmsted Falls in 1942.
The house and original log cabin business were built by Bill and remain today at the Olmsted Falls location. The Vita-Mix office has since expanded to a building that is more than 100,000 square feet. The company has more than 200 employees and sells products in more than 70 countries.
Vita-Mix had humble beginnings. At the World’s Fair in 1933, Bill and his father, “Papa Barnard,” began pitching kitchen gadgets. By 1937 they were pitching the blenders that would later become Vita-Mix machines. Papa Barnard in the 1950s pitched Vita-Mix in half-hour live television commercials. He was dubbed “the father of infomercials”.
Bill acquired the business from his father in 1955 and formalized the company into Vita-Mix Corp. As the business grew, Ruth wore many hats, such as authoring innovative recipe books for the users of the Vita-Mix. Bill’s favorite recipe was Kickapoo Joy Juice. Ruth was the steady hand of Vita-Mix during those years as Bill forged ahead carrying out the vision.
Bill and Ruth retired together in 1985. Bill’s death came in 1997 and Ruth was confined to a wheelchair due to arthritis. However, she was always ready for a game of rummy.
Ruth leaves six children, William Grover III, Virginia, John, Patricia, Frank and Bonnee as well as 27 grandchildren, 39 great grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.