In Memoriam: Ruth Weinberg (April 13, 1922 – March 31, 2018)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ruth Weinberg, a loyal and cherished employee of Abell Auction Co. for more than 75 years.
The native Angeleno was born in Boyle Heights, attending Los Angeles High School – “THE school” in her words – and then UCLA. She joined Abell in 1943, receiving a work offer through a cousin who had married into the family that ran the business.
She said she had no qualifications, but was “speed-trained” in keeping the books and answering calls. Catching on quickly, she began coordinating bills for contract truckers and commissions for consignors. Throughout her career, she handled just about every job except serving as an auctioneer. She never wanted to do that but, she said, she’s certain the company would have given her the opportunity.
Over the years, Ruth took breaks from work to wed after World War II when her beau returned from military service, to have children, and later in life to care for her ill husband. But she always found her way to Abell. She always wanted to return, and Abell always wanted her back.
Ruth worked every weekly auction and every quarterly fine art and antique sale conducted by Abell, now in its fourth generation of family operation. Every Thursday, rain or shine, she drove the approximately 35 miles round-trip from her home in Cheviot Hills (in L.A.’s Westside) to Abell’s gallery and back, and stayed at the auctions until the “bitter end” to answer questions from bidders.
Ruth also volunteered for the Skirball Cultural Center, which she had done for the last 20-plus years. She put together the schedule for other volunteers to staff the center’s food cart, and previously staffed it once a week herself. It’s part of her nature, she explained: “I can’t understand people who just want to sit around. I’m still interested and curious.”
In Her Words: More Ruth Weinberg Quotes
- “Abell just kept growing and growing. It was like a birthday party every time a lot came in. I opened things that I would never see unless I went to a museum. It’s like that even today.”
- “It’s exciting to see customers I’ve seen for years and years, and also to make new friends. People come in again and again for our warm and friendly environment. We are known for being warm, trustworthy and reputable. Abell makes it like a family and makes people feel very welcome. ”
- “Customers whose grandfathers brought them in when they were children to give them a taste of the auction business are now Abell regulars. We have buyers who used to come in with their mothers and fathers and now run businesses of their own. It’s wonderful to see that.”
- “Abell is employee-oriented. If someone leaves and they’re ready to come back, Abell gives them a second chance. They’re the type of people who would help anyone.”
- “I enjoy what I do. To me, it’s a day of feeling alive and happy.”