Photo of Ruth Tulchinsky


“I have had a good life.”

In writing about her life, Ruth Tulchinsky observed that “storytelling shapes almost every human endeavor.” Ruth’s story is complicated, ranging from her family leaving Nazi occupied Germany in 1937, landing in New York City before finally settling in South Bend. Later in life, Ruth reflected back on these experiences: “Having lived under Hitler and the Nazi regime, the idea of freedom and liberty was always close to my heart.” However, she also noted that, “I do not consider myself a Holocaust survivor, but rather a lucky person who immigrated to America but was affected by the Hitler era.” Ruth enacted this impact by “speaking out in support of, or opposing, false allegations [that] was an obligation each of us has.”

Embracing her own freedom, Ruth became a nurse despite some hesitancy and concern from her father. From 1954-1959, Ruth served as the head nurse of the post-op recovery unit at the Northern Indiana Children’s Hospital. Upon leaving the hospital, Ruth returned to school, earning a teaching degree from Saint Mary’s College. She then taught German and English classes at Central, Washington, and Clay High Schools, spending 20 years in the South Bend Community School Corporation. After retirement, Ruth continued her involvement in the school corporation by being the first senior citizen to participate in after school language courses for elementary students, a program developed by her son, Mark Tulchinsky.

Returning to her nursing roots after retirement, Ruth was instrumental in forming the St. Joseph County Alliance for the Mentally Ill, serving as board president for three years, and a member of both the local and state chapters. Ruth also contributed to helping tell the story of the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center.

“I want to talk about the fair-minded, the modest, the quiet, the faithful, the responsible, the constant, and the tender.”

  • 20-year teacher at South Bend Community Schools
  • Founding member of Saint Joseph County Alliance for the Mentally Ill
  • 3-year president of Saint Joseph County Alliance for the Mentally Ill
  • Board member State of Indiana Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Information compiled from “The Four Questions” life history written by Ruth Tulchinsky

Ruth was honored at Celebrating Michiana Women Leaders 2016.