Mount Vernon News

Mount Vernon News
April 5, 2013 10:39 am EDT


COLUMBUS — Ruth E. Purdy, D.O., has left her earthly pursuits to claim the spot in heaven she earned through her nearly 93 years of life.

Reared in Killbuck, Ruth distinguished herself early academically and was encouraged by her grandmother to become a physician. A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, she married Jack T. Zeller, a prominent Mount Vernon attorney — her high school sweetheart seven years after earning her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

A dedicated physician, Ruth worked for almost 70 years at Doctors Hospital in Columbus. She was widely recognized for her professionalism among colleagues and patients. Throughout her career, Ruth was considered to be a real trailblazer — inspiring generations of physicians as a role model and teacher. She was the quintessential professional who was always willing to share her knowledge and encourage others. Her diagnostic abilities were legendary — but she never lost sight of the fact that she was working with individuals.

Ruth was one of the first female osteopathic physicians in the country; as such, she was honored by the Ohio House of Representatives for being the first female physician at Doctors Hospital. Ruth was widely recognized for her professionalism, receiving the Oscar John Snyder Memorial Medal from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; the James F. Sosnowski, D.O., Distinguished Service Award presented by the Columbus Academy of Medicine; the Master Clinical Teacher Award from the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine; the Women’s Board of Central Ohio Diabetes Distinguished Service Award; the Phillips Medal; the Annual Women in Medicine Conference Appreciation Award; the Award of Merit from the Chief of Staff at Doctors Hospital; the American Osteopathic Association’s first-ever Mentor of the Year award; and the Ohio Osteopathic Association’s Distinguished Service Award.

Throughout her life, Ruth took an active role in community development and medical advancement. She volunteered for many medical associations, holding office on the boards of the regional American Heart Association and Central Ohio Diabetes Association, and served as a physician advisor to ICU-CCU American Heart Association nurses. She was a member of numerous professional organizations, some of which include: the American Osteopathic Association, the Ohio Osteopathic Association, and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee of the Ohio Department of Human Services.

She is survived by her brother, Dr. Clyde L. Purdy, (DVM) of Mount Vernon,; numerous nieces and nephews; countless friends. She was predeceased by her parents; husband, Jack T. Zeller; brother, Robert; and sisters, Cleo and Amy.

Throughout her life, she enjoyed family, friends, travel, golf, theater and, above all, being a physician. Although she has left us, we are all better for having had her in our lives. She will remain an inspiration for her enormous capacity for intellect, compassion, professionalism, friendship, loyalty and love. She will be greatly missed and eternally admired.

Celebration of her life will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Northwest United Methodist Church, 5200 Riverside Drive, Columbus, OH 43220. Friends will be received one hour prior.

In lieu of flowers, donations to: Ohio University Foundation, in honor of Ruth E. Purdy, D.O, Scholarship (Sharon B. Zimmerman, MPA, Executive Director of Health Affairs, Ohio University, Cutler Hall, 308, Athens, OH 45701); Central Ohio Diabetes Association (1100 Dennison Ave., Columbus, OH 43201); or the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation (1500 Lake Shore Drive, Suite 230, Columbus, OH 43204).

Arrangements entrusted to Schoedinger Northwest Chapel 614-457-5481. To share memories of condolences, visit

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