Ruth Anna Roche was born February 18, 1917 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Her father, John Hauser Roche, was born in 1889 Massachusetts of Irish ancestry. Her mother, Anna Roche, was born in 1893 in Kovno, Lithuania, of Jewish ancestry. Her parents had four children, Walter (b.1908), George (b.1911), Ruth (b.1917), and Anna (b.1924). The family lived at 194 Brown Avenue in Holyoke. The father was a meter inspector for the City Gas and Power Company.
The children all attended public school.
In 1924 the mother died soon after giving birth to the fourth child. After this tragic death the father's elderly mother and unwed sister came to live with the family to help raise the children.
In 1925 the family moved to a larger home at 28 Elmwood Avenue in Holyoke.
In 1936 at the age of eighteen Ruth Roche graduated from Holyoke High School.
In 1940 Ruth Roche moved to New York City to seek her fortune as a writer and editor in the publishing industry. She lived in Flushing, Queens with her Aunt Jeanne Roche.
In 1940 Ruth Roche began to work with Samuel M. "Jerry" Iger, who created, wrote and drew the syndicated newspaper comic strip, Mickey and His Gang. He also ran an advertising agency, as well as one of the earliest comic art studios, the Eisner & Iger Shop, with his business partner Will Eisner (1917-2005).
In 1944 Will Eisner left the partnership to seek his fortune as the creator, writer and artist of the comic strip, The Spirit. At that point Iger's company was reorganized as Roche & Iger, with Ruth Roche as partner, Business Manager, and Executive Editor.
Roche & Iger also operated the Phoenix Features Syndicate, where she created and wrote the popular comic strip, Flamingo, which was drawn by Matt Baker. That strip ran in The New York World-Telegram.
She wrote the newspaper comic strip, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, which appeared in The New York Mirror.
She also wrote for comic strips Brenda Starr, Ellery Queen, Aggie Mack and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.
She edited six romance confession magazines under a variety of pen-names, Miss Martin, Miss Bennett, Miss Adams, Miss Thorpe, Agnes Wilson, and The Marriage Clinic.
Ruth Roche edited Classic Illustrated comic books for five years.
In 1953 she rented an apartment at and listed her telephone number as "Writer."
After the devastation of the comic book industry, she found work as an editor and script writer for the television cartoons Felix The Cat and Huckleberry Hound.
In 1956 she married a Television Producer, George Schaefer. Two years later their marriage ended unhappily in divorce.
In 1958 she rented a cottage in Montauk, NY, on the remotest tip of the Southern Fork of Long Island.
In 1959 The East Hampton Star reported her purchase of one-half acre for $4000, where she built her dream home on South Delrey Road, Montauk.
Her closest companion in her final years was a colorful local personality, Peter Panteles, who owned the popular Montauk Wine & Liquor Store.
During the cold winter months they traveled south to a second home in Sebastian, Florida.
Ruth Roche Schaefer died after a brief illness in Southhampton Hospital, in Southhampton, NY, at the age of sixty-six on May 4, 1983.
© David Saunders 2015