Volume 46

The Building of History II: Ruth Durivage

One of the Top Businesswomen of Ottawa County


  • RuthDurivage
There are very few small business people in this country that have worked any harder, survived any more challenges, given anymore love to her man and her career than Ruth Durivage! I have known Ruth since I was in high school. Ruth and her first husband (Howard) rented the back end of my grandfather’s (Barney Dunn) Standard Oil Gas Station in the small town of Williston, Ohio. Williston was a booming town of at least eight small businesses including three beauty salons, one of which was my mother’s Beaty Dunn Sutter. It was in 1964 when the economy got rather slow. To keep the Durivage Pattern shop afloat, my grandfather and the Durivages would agree to no rent until profits came in. It was a way small businesses worked together. Ruth and Howard made all the repairs and paid their utility bills. It was during this time Barney, Ruth, and Howard became business collaborators. Ruth said Barney helped her learn how to keep books, the first of Ruth’s small business success stories.


Howard passed suddenly and Ruth became acquainted with another “tool and die” owner, Harold. Ruth’s son, Larry, joined the business and it really became a profitable business. So much so that the new modern Durivage Pattern MFG, Inc shop was built about a mile away and soon Larry’s son, Gary became a partner. Gary and Larry’s family still run the successful small business today.


By the way, Ruth’s first success in business was in the Department of Interior. She was the supervisor of shipping all of the guns tested in World War II Erie Ordinance Depot. She is one heck of a woman! Fifteen years ago, a friend and I reunited with Ruth after Harold passed. She probably could have made big money on the Texas Hold’em tables in Las Vegas. She was a great card player and she loved to win! Euchre, pinochle, and Pedro were her favorites. This scenario is where one of my good friends, Don Mallett enters the picture. He was a retired Chrysler engineer and he and Ruth became great card partners and at 99 years of age, is in business (married for 15 years) with Don. They live on a beautiful “country horse farm” here in the Western Basin of Lake Erie. They enjoy their winters in sunny Phoenix where she is the card queen of Sun City!


Do I need to say more about this fantastic small businesswoman? Ruth continues to spread her love to all through her home-cooking. I have a “warmed up” huge portion of mac and cheese in my fridge right now!


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