Industry Icon Ruth Stricker Dies at 85

Ruth Stricker founded The Marsh in 1985 // Photo credit:

Known as a pioneer and spokesperson for the mind-body connection, Ruth Stricker, founder of The Marsh, A Center for Balance and Fitness (Minnetonka, MN), passed away on April 14, 2020, surrounded by her friends and family after a brief hospital stay in Minneapolis. She was 85 years old.

Stricker, who won American Spa's 2019 Industry Icon Award, founded The Marsh in 1985 by blending both allopathic and alternative disciplines, with an acupuncturist and a cardiologist working side by side. She is known for integrating Eastern and Western philosophies into her professional and personal life, having stated the resiliency of the human spirit makes it possible for us to find a sense of wellbeing in our lives, and that our challenge is to be emotionally resilient and physically healthy to handle change and stress. Her work has also extended to the former Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, where she researched and taught spirituality and wellness.

She was part of the International Spa Association (ISPA) from the beginning and was involved in creating the organization’s original mission statement. Throughout the years, Stricker has presented on a variety of topics at the annual ISPA Conference. She was a founder and a vice president of the ISPA Foundation Board of Directors, served on the ISPA Education Foundation Board of Directors, and was an inductee of the Washington Spa Alliance Inaugural Hall of Fame honoring visionaries and contributors to the spa industry.

When Stricker won the 2004 Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award, former ISPA chair Jeff Kohl said, "Ruth was a driving force behind the evolution of people no longer seeing spas as pampering but instead as a requisite to staying physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.”


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