Edina, Minn., Oct. 12, 2020 – The longest-tenured employee in the City of Edina’s history is retiring after a 45-year career.
Administrative Assistant Ruth Schmoll, who found the job as a part-time secretary/dispatcher in the newspaper classifieds in the summer of 1975, has spent her entire working life with the Edina Fire Department. At the time, she was majoring in psychology at the University of Minnesota with plans to become a child psychologist.
“I never really intended to stay,” Schmoll said. “Working in an office wasn’t on my list of things I considered doing. The fact that it was a fire station made it a lot more interesting.”
Her childhood growing up in Edina and riding her bicycle all over town turned out to be an important job skill. In an era before Google Maps or even Mapquest, she not only dispatched the firefighters to emergencies, she handed them notes with street directions to get them there quickly.
Many of the administrative processes and systems in place at the Fire Department were either created by Schmoll or organized by her.
“She is affectionately known as ‘Chief Schmoll’ because of her expert institutional knowledge and historical relevance with the Fire Department,” said Assistant Chief of Operations Jeff Siems.
She’s famous for being able to reach into a file and quickly find the answer to any question, often faster than looking up the information in computer files. She’s also been a mother figure, friend and confidante to five fire chiefs and generations of Edina firefighters.
“She’s been the rock, the cornerstone of the department,” Fire Chief Tom Schmitz said.
In a tribute to Schmoll, the Fire Department’s inflatable rescue boat is unofficially named the SS Ruth Ann.
During the pandemic, Schmoll has been working from her family’s Edina home where she read that job ad 45 years ago. She officially retires Oct. 30.
For more information, contact the Edina Fire Department at 952-826-0330.
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