B.Ruth Soffen (Kerman), 105, a 39-year resident of North Bergen, died March 22, 2020. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and had also resided in Queens, Cliffside Park, South Orange, and Livingston.
Mrs. Soffen graduated from New Utrecht High School in 1932. After working in the private sector, she attained a civilian position with the federal government in 1942 in Washington, D.C., and then in New York City, helping to support her family. Her top security clearance enabled her to win an office pool during World War II by coming closest to predicting when Japan would surrender after having taken dictation on the atom bomb.
In 1958, she took the New York Unemployment Office to court after wrongfully being denied unemployment benefits. She won the arbitration, which included back pay, while representing herself.
She and her husband Norman founded Soffen Furniture Company in Union City in 1958, relocating to West New York in 1972. They were among the first to extend credit, when banks would not, to arriving Cuban immigrants, and she studied Spanish to be able to converse with them.
She was a member of Hadassah, AMIT, the former Yeshiva of Hudson County, former sisterhoods of Temple Beth Abraham and Temple Beth El of North Bergen, and Oheb Shalom Congregation in South Orange.
She was an avid duplicate bridge player and enjoyed theater, old movies, selling costume jewelry, crocheting, and playing word games. She continued making friends of all ages throughout her life, and wrote poems for family and friends on her Underwood manual typewriter to commemorate all occasions.
She was included as one of the voters in the book “We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage” published in 2017. The South Orange Village President and State of New Jersey issued proclamations for her 102nd birthday, and April 17 was proclaimed B.Ruth Soffen Day in the Township of Livingston on her 104th and 105th birthdays.
Predeceased by her husband, whom she married in 1952, she is survived by her daughter, Nanette Soffen (Robin O. Winter); four grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
A private service was held March 24. Memorial contributions may be made to Planned Parenthood, Jewish Guild for the Blind, Oheb Shalom Congregation, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Congregation Beth Israel, or Community FoodBank of NJ.