Ruth Levinsohn Siteman, philanthropist, 92 – The Source
Ruth Levinsohn Siteman, philanthropist, 92 – The Source

Ruth Levinsohn Siteman, a graduate and longtime supporter of Washington University in St. Louis, died peacefully at home in St. Louis surrounded by her family on Thursday, June 13, 2024. She was 92 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in 1975 and raised her four daughters to engage with the world in ways that would give their lives meaning.


Along with her husband of 72 years, Alvin J. Siteman, Ruth was a passionate philanthropist and community leader. In 1999, the Sitemans donated $35 million to name the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, which is now a national leader in cancer treatment, research, prevention and education.

“Ruth was passionate about the center’s focus on the patient experience and that we provide hope to everyone who comes to us,” said Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine and director of the Siteman Cancer Center. “It was very important to her that Siteman not only provide cutting-edge care, but also offer the best support and treat patients as if they were members of our immediate family.”

The Sitemans also established three professorships at WashU, one in pediatrics and oncology at the School of Medicine and one in marketing at the Olin Business School.

Ruth, who along with her husband received the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award, was passionate about women’s reproductive rights, early childhood education, civil rights, and the arts. Her roles included serving on the boards of the Scholarship Foundation and Reproductive Health Services and being a founding member of WashU’s National Council of Arts & Sciences.

She was a highly respected docent at the Saint Louis Art Museum and was proud to be a member of the 22nd…and Circuit Judicial Commission, where she interviewed candidates to fill vacancies on the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. She also worked for many years as a consultant at Hope Clinic and Reproductive Health Services.

In addition to her husband, she leaves behind her daughters Estelle (De Kaplan) Siteman, Nancy Siteman, Joanne Gordon and Suzanne Siteman, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In keeping with her wishes, there was no service or wake. Tributes in her memory may be made to the National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis Section, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, the American Civil Liberties Union, or the St. Louis Section of Evelyn’s House.

By Everly