Ruth Gennrich
1936 - 2021
Warren-McElwain Mortuary Lawrence Chapel
120 West 13th
Lawrence, KS
Ruth Helen Gennrich was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 25, 1936, to Alfred and Dorothy (Weiss) Gennrich.

She graduated from Northwestern University in 1958 with a Bachelors degree in Theater and Speech Education. She worked in all phases of theater production in San Francisco and Actor's Workshop and in New York City at Lincoln Center and Columbia University from 1958 to 1972.

In 1972 she moved to Lawrence, Kansas and was a Teaching Assistant in the University of Kansas theater department while studying biology. She received her Masters degree in Systematics and Ecology in 1975.

Following a year as Educational Director at the North American Wildlife Park in Battleground, Indiana which housed a pack of Wolves, she returned to Lawrence where she was Director of Public Education at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, which included running the Summer Workshops for Young People program for hundreds of children each summer, for over 20 years until her retirement in 1998.

Ruth enjoyed traveling throughout the world learning about the people and animals and their various habitats.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Mary Butterbrodt and nephew Karl Butterbrodt. She is survived by three nephews; Jay Butterbrodt and Cheryl Barczak, Tim and Lupe Butterbrodt, and Paul and Roseann Butterbrodt, and six grand nieces and nephews.

Ruth was active in the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education (KACEE). She served several terms as treasurer and as their representative to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Nongame Wildlife Advisory Counsel. (KNWAC). She also was NE area representative for the Kansas Museum Association (KMA) and participated in the Mountain Plains Museum Association, (MPMA).

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date.

If you wish to make a donation in Ruth's memory, please make a donation to Always & Furever Midwest Animal Sanctuary 23595 W. 223rd St Spring Hill, KS 66083 or may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

For more information or to post a condolence go to

Published by Lawrence Journal-World on Jun. 16, 2021.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Funeral services provided by:
Warren-McElwain Mortuary Lawrence Chapel
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

3 Entries
I was the student member on the committee that hired Ruth as Public Education Director. I knew she was the right fit from the moment I meet her, and it was pleasure to work with her teaching in the summer programs and creating mobile teaching kits. She really set the stage for the program that is there today.
Dr. Marjorie Rothschild
July 7, 2021
I had the pleasure of working with Ruth at the North American Wildlife Park (now known as Wolf Park) in Battle Ground, IN during her year there as Education Director. The two of us would take our ambassador wolf, Attila, out to various schools to teach children about the importance of conservation of endangered species and of our remaining wilderness. We both enjoyed this very much. I missed Ruth a lot when she moved back to Lawrence, KS, but she was offered her dream job there, and we kept in touch for many years. "Rest in Peace" seems a little strange to wish someone who was so energetic, so, like Patti Redel, I will wish "Fly with the Angels, Ruth!"
Pat Goodmann
June 22, 2021
When I arrived at KU in the late 1980s, Ruth was so active in Museum education and her enthusiasm was contagious. She will be missed.
Helen Alexander
June 17, 2021
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 results