Newspaper Publisher, Civic Leader Ruth Holmberg Passes Away At 96

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Ruth Holmberg
Ruth Holmberg

Ruth Holmberg, a civic leader and former publisher of the Chattanooga Times, passed away at her home Wednesday morning. She was 96.

The Holmberg glass bridge to the Hunter Museum is named in honor of her and her late husband.

Mrs. Holmberg was the granddaughter of famous publisher Adlolph Ochs who built both the Chattanooga Times and the New York Times. 

As a daughter of Mr. Ochs’ only child, Iphigene Bertha Ochs Sulzberger, Mrs. Holmberg enjoyed plenty of time with Mr. Ochs. 

As an adult, Mrs. Holmberg moved to Chattanooga, where she headed up the Times with her two husbands, the late Ben Hale Golden and the late William Holmberg. 

Through her longtime former role as publisher and her civic leadership on various community boards, she was a pioneer in supporting by voice or example such progressive issues as social tolerance, women in leadership, and nature and the arts.

ArtsBuild established The Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership annual award in 2014 to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to the arts in Chattanooga and is actively engaged in the cultural life of the community. The first award recognized Ruth Holmberg for her extraordinary support of the arts and cultural community in Chattanooga over the past 70 years. 

She is survived by three sons, Michael Golden, New York, N.Y., vice chairman of The New York Times; Arthur Golden, Brookline, Ma., writer, whose works include “Memoirs of a Geisha”; Stephen Golden, Tucson, Az.; daughter, Lynn G. Dolnick, Castleton, Va.; sister, Marian Heiskell, New York; three step-daughters, Jeanne Johnson and Elin Holmberg-Rowland, both of Sky Valley, Ca., and Meg Duckworth of Rye, N.Y.; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren and many step-great-grandchildren.

Senator Bob Corker released the following statement:

“While the world knows Ruth Holmberg's family for starting the New York Times, anyone who knew Ruth knew her heart was always in Chattanooga. In her quiet way, she was one of the kindest and most generous champions for our city that I have ever known and her impact will be felt for many years to come. Her long-time leadership and stewardship of the Chattanooga Times informed generations of our citizens and her advocacy for the arts helped transform our community and establish it as a place with tremendous heart and soul. She was a friend to so many and will be greatly missed.”


A memorial service will be held Monday, at 5 p.m. in the Frierson Theatre of The Girls Preparatory School, 205 Island Avenue, Chattanooga.

A reception for Ruth’s family and friends will follow at the Hunter Museum.


Funeral arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home on East Brainerd Road.


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