West Hollywood community leaders, friends and family members joined at Plummer Park on Saturday for a remembrance of WeHo Commissioner Ruth Williams. The event was hosted by council member John Erickson a day after her funeral service. Mayor Lauren Meister, Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne and council member Lindsey Horvath were at the memorial to pay their respects.
Mayor Meister spoke about how she’s known Ruth since she got involved with the city twenty years because public safety was important to both of them. She said they didn’t always agree, but they always had the best interest of the city.
Former West Hollywood council member and Mayor, John Heilman said he felt like we all lost part of our soul here in West Hollywood. “Yesterday at her service we heard about Ruth’s incredible commitment and dedication and her history as an activist. We heard about her incredible commitment to her family. And she always liked to remind me how she beat me at chess here at Plummer Park, maybe 40 years ago.”
Former West Hollywood council member and Mayor Abbe Land called Ruth the fabric of our community and spoke of her commitment, passion and dedication to make this city the best that it could be and that it was never about her, it was always about the city. “So much of what we have here is because of Ruth and her activism and some things that we don’t have here is because of Ruth and her activism,” she said. “And many of those things that we shouldn’t have here.”
Former West Hollywood council member and mayor, and current Los Angeles Assessor, Jeffrey Prang, joked that Ruth was his baby sitter and he was feeling the loss. He said the life and the vibrancy happening at the park that morning was a reflection of Ruth’s lifetime of work. “Her legacy is everywhere you look driving up and down Santa Monica Boulevard, or Sunset,” he said. “The programs and the services that the city provides for those in need are all a reflection and the eternal legacy of her time and commitment to the city. One of Ruth’s qualities that struck me the most was her humanity. She cared so deeply about people. She always wanted to be a part of the solution.”
Ruth’s granddaughter Lauren thanked the West Hollywood community for showing up for her family and for extending their love and appreciation for her nana. “Growing up I always thought that everybody had what we had here in West Hollywood, that you could just walk to the park and be with your friends and be with your family… as I grow up, I realize not everyone has this privilege and the older I get, the more thankful I am to have those memories and those experiences…It’s just really beautiful for nana to have built such an amazing legacy for all of us to be able to experience three generations into it.”
Ruth passed on June 17, 2022. As part of her last wishes, Ruth wanted to have a community gathering in West Hollywood where individuals could come pay their respects and join together to remember the impacts she made on their lives and the city.
Ruth is survived by her sons Steven and Richard Neubauer, Michael Forster and her grandchildren Jonathan and Lauren Neubauer, and Jacob Forster. This event is being planned in coordination and approval of Ruth’s family.
Commissioner Ruth Williams was one of the city of West Hollywood’s founding members. She moved to West Hollywood in 1948 and dedicated most of her life to serving, improving and enriching the city. Her impact and contribution to the WeHo include participating in an effort that led to the city’s enactment of the longest rent controlled laws in the nation, advocating for a better quality of life for the eastside residents, encouraging involvement in the city’s neighborhood watch, program and enhancing public safety measures in West Hollywood.
Ruth stands as one of the longest serving officials in the city as a rent stabilization commissioner from 1985 to 1993. She also served in the Public Safety Commission from 1994 to 2021.
In addition to her service as a West Hollywood commissioner, she also served on the Women’s Advisory Board for a short time when it was first created, as well as on the Project Area Committee of the Eastside PAC.
West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Master, Mayor Pro-Tem Sepi Shyne and the rest of the city council adjured in her memory at the regular city council meeting on Monday, June 27, 2021. The Mayor honored her life and legacy on behalf of her family, friends and the entire West Hollywood community.
Flags were lowered to half-staff following the announcement of her death in remembrance of Ruth Williams.
A statement released June 4th, states that Ruth suffered a stroke which she succumbed to at the hospital where she passed away surrounded by her family and friends during her last days. She was 84 years old.