Ethel Ortmann Rueter, a dancer and former Radio City Rockette, died on Oct 3. Cause of death was not released. She was 91.
Born in Chicago, Rueter suffered from rheumatic fever as a child. Her doctor recommended that she take dancing lessons to strengthen her heart, so she began studying ballet at the Sherwood School of Music.
During the Depression, she moved to New York to find a job that would help her support her widowed mother and two brothers. She began dancing with the old Metropolitan Opera Ballet under choreographer George Balanchine, but switched to tap and jazz to land a prized spot with the Radio City Rockettes. She also performed in the chorus of several Broadway shows, including “Of Thee I Sing,” the first musical to win a Pulitzer Prize for playwriting.
In the late 1930s, Rueter returned to Chicago to dance in productions at the Chicago Theatre and to run a boarding house with her mother. In 1940, she married one of her boarders and became a wife and homemaker.