Ruth Gary Gresser, 48, engineer

April 01, 2006

Ruth Gary Gresser, a Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab staff engineer, died of cancer March 25 at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Columbia resident was 48.

Born Ruth Gary Schreib in Ballston Spa, N.Y., and raised in Sunshine in northern Montgomery County, she was a 1975 Sandy Spring Friends High School graduate. She earned a music degree at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., in 1981. Later, while raising her three children, she returned to school; she earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1995.

An APL employee for six years, Ms. Gresser worked in software testing for Trident submarines. She had earlier been employed at Interface and Control Systems Inc. and at Honeywell, where she worked on a project for NASA.

Ms. Gresser had been a member of the Society of Women Engineers since 1993.

Friends recalled that Ms. Gresser enjoyed playing piano classics, including Rachmaninov and Khachaturian, at concerts at APL. She accompanied and sang with an employees group called the Scats. She also played piano with an informal musical group in College Park.

She also had been a church organist.

"She was the kind of person who just sparkled," said her friend Mary Stuart of Columbia. "She was a real doer. She would not waste time. She had an energy about her."

In addition to her music and professional work, Ms. Gresser had recently begun to invest in real estate.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. today at the Sandy Spring Friends Meeting House at 17715 Meetinghouse Road in Sandy Spring.

Survivors include a son, Theodore "Teddy" Gresser of San Diego, Calif.; two daughters, Bethany Gresser of Baltimore and Hannah Gresser of Columbia; her parents, Rolland and Ruth Schreib of Lambertville, N.J.; three brothers, Robert Schreib of Seattle, Mark Schreib of Olney and Chris Schreib of Rye, N.Y.; a sister, Claudia Schreib-Li of Fremont, Calif.; and her fiance, Martin Stephens of Clarksburg. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.

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