Mary Ruth Kestermeier Bruch, 89, died peacefully Friday, June 5, 2020, at her and her twin sister’s home in Hamilton, Virginia. Mary and her sister, Martha, were born on June 28, 1930, in Marietta, Ohio to Albert Henry and Eleanor Mae Snodgrass Kestermeier. Born significantly premature at only two and a half pounds, the twins survived against great odds, thanks to the efforts of a young Marietta physician. Mary obtained her Bachelor of Science from Marietta College and her Master’s in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison at a time when the sciences were overwhelmingly dominated by men. As a female pioneer in the field, she excelled at her work as a microbiologist for the Food and Drug Administration, National Canners Association Research Laboratories, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as in the private sector. She served for decades in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and was acknowledged repeatedly for her excellence and service. Her colleagues recognized her wealth of scientific knowledge and experience and pursuit of the highest standards in antimicrobial science — a field more important now than ever. Her parents supported and fostered Mary’s and Martha’s tireless curiosity and pursuit of science. Mary spread this love of learning to those around her and never hesitated to gift a good book she knew her friends and family would like. A proud daughter of Marietta, she also collected Ohio Valley pottery and glassware, which she sold at her several antique booths in Northern Virginia, including The Old Lucketts Store and Leesburg Antiques Court of Shoppes. Her creativity and love were expressed in her cooking and gardening, and her family benefited from her great interest in the science of the kitchen. As family matriarch, Mary never let a holiday or family occasion pass without proper celebration, recognizing the importance of sharing joy in life with those she loved. Her pride and joy were her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who are forever indebted to her for instilling a lifelong love of reading, learning and science. Mary is survived by her two daughters, Elise Bruch of Portland, Oregon, and Miriam Burton (and husband Alton Burton, Esq.) of Bethesda, Maryland; four grandchildren, AJ Burton, Esq. (and wife Emma Simson, Esq.), Kim Bonilla (and husband Juan Bonilla), Cal Burton, M.D., and Tori Burton; three great-grandchildren, DJ, Mariana, and Valentina Bonilla; and former husband, Dr. Carl W. Bruch, PhD, of Hudson, Wisconsin. Burial was in New St. Mary’s Cemetery in Marietta, OH, where she was laid to rest next to her sister and parents. Donations may be made in her mem-ory to the Dominican Sisters of Peace, 2320 Airport Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219.

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