November 08,1960 - October 22,2019
Obituary for Ruth Bereket-AB
Ruth Bereket-AB, born to Zufan Zekarias and Bereket-AB G. Selassie, on November 8th, 1960 in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. Ruth was the fourth in five children. Ruth spent her formative years in Addis Abeba and left her home soon after the Derg came into power in the late 70's.
Ruth came to the greater Seattle area in the 1980. Her first real job was at Bayview Manor Retirement Community in Queen Anne, Seattle. Little did she know that she would spend the next 32 years building a legacy of community and care at Bayview. Ruth single-handedly hire more Ethiopians and Eritreans than any other employer in Seattle.
Ruth is survived by her husband of 16 years, Rudolph Smith; her siblings, Zemeheret Bereket-AB, Rebecca B. Zere, and Natnael Bereket-AB; her standing in father, Isaac Zere; her nieces and nephews: Tamar Zere, David Zere, Sellam Bereket-AB, and Mariam Bereket-AB; her grand-niece and god-daughter, Rahel Mashawa. Additionally, she is survived by countless cousins, friends, and community members.
Rest in power, beloved, may peace be always yours.
The Bereket-AB, Zekarias and Zere family
"I had hoped to be able to write a eulogy for my beloved aunt but i don’t know how to reduce her outsized impact on my life. So, I will read you the letter I wished i had read her when she was still here.
You were Uncle’s Zemy’s, Mom’s, Uncle Natie’s little sister and Dad’s Addera daughter, but you were always my big sister. My cool and dope big sister. Firmly sandwiched between Mom and I, you were the bridge.
Smoking your Winston’s and sipping on your rum and cokes, I looked up to you. Wondering what party you were getting ready go to listening to your R&B music. You were always the guardian of my secrets and my gateway into first experiences. When i was 10 you took me to a cookout with your friends where I danced and got a taste of your life. When I was 16 and the mize at your wedding, I snuck off for my first drink.
When I was a sophomore at the UW, I came and begged you for a job as a dishwasher. You not only gave me a job but you fought for me to make $4.85. Thank you for always looking the other way when i would steal dinner (with the plates/utensils). You let me come to Bayview a few more times when I was desperate or hungry. I know I wasn’t the only one though. You hired so many habeshas throughout Seattle.
We got close when Mom, Dad and David left for China. We would talk everyday. You would call to tell me about some cuckoo bird who followed you on Rainier because you never took I-5 or tell me about the latest gossip at Bayview. You would listen to my woes about my young marriage or fears about flunking out of law school. We laughed endlessly about my time in Holly Park as you tried to correct my Amharic and teach me habesha customs/traditions. I’m not sure I would have survived those years on my own without you.
And remember when I was getting ready to have Rahel and you agreed to come to the birthing room? You were doing so good sitting there reading your Oprah magazine. After a while all that screaming got to you and you ran out with the magazine covering your face. You never lived that down. Even though you didn’t see Rahel born, you loved her mightily. You would come over after work to rock her to sleep. You would rub her forehead and whisper to her. She would only sleep for you.
I know there were moments you doubted not having children. You had your own complex and deep reasons for choosing not to. I know that. I also know that 32 years at Bayview Manor was a gift to the world. All those habeshas you hired when no one else would. All those habeshas you counseled, supported and advocated for. You risked so much for so many. You did what many of wouldn’t.
Ruthie, my deepest regret is all the years we lost estranged from each other. I know and understand that a relationship as long as ours is complex and nuanced. Fraught with old pain and conflicting truths. And not to long ago, we weren’t able to overcome our old wounds. It was in this time that you were stricken with cancer. I’m sorry i wasn’t there for you in your hour of need."
For better or worse, you were my big sister. Bound by blood, memories and secrets - you were my big sister. Rest in power, my love, and kiss Eddie for me.
In Loving Memory of Ruth Bereket-AB
In Loving Memory of Ruth Bereket-AB
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