Ruth Lieder - Journalist, publicist, politician

Passing Date

Three-term Sun Valley mayor and ski resort publicist Ruth Lieder died on July 15 of natural causes with her beloved golden retriever, Jessie, by her side. She was 88.

Lieder grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Smith College in 1953. She landed at Sports Illustrated magazine, covering ski fashion and the 1960 Olympics in Rome and Squaw Valley. Next came a job for Asia Week magazine. On a visit to Sun Valley in the early 1970s, she heard that long-time publicity director Dorice Taylor was retiring. Ruthie applied for the job and was hired by resort manager Harry Holmes.

It was more than a full-time job. “I wouldn’t think of closing my office at 5 and going home,” she said. “I would go to the Duchin Bar and circulate…from there to the Limelight Room. I considered the role of publicity director to be sure that everyone was having fun.” She wrangled celebrities like the Kennedys, Lucille Ball, Clint Eastwood and Gregory Peck, but gave her time to all guests.

Eventually Ruthie served two terms on the city council and three terms as Sun Valley’s first female mayor. She is remembered for her sharp intellect, good humor, and commitment to community service. —David Butterfield