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Discovering Jesse Owens’ Wife: Ruth Solomon

Ruth Solomon: A Love Story Beyond the Tracks - Explore the enduring romance and heartwarming family tale behind legendary athlete Jesse Owens' public triumphs.
by Rob Gillham | Dec 29 2023
Discovering Jesse Owens' Wife: Ruth Solomon
Credits: Wikipedia

Jesse Owens was a sports legend, breaking records and racial boundaries. But have you ever wondered about his life off the track?

Right in the heart of that story is Ruth Solomon, Jesse Owens’ wife. Keep reading as we uncover the ups and downs in Jesse Owens’ family life and career after the Olympics.

It’s time to explore a side of Jesse you probably haven’t heard about.

Ruth Solomon: Jesse Owens’ Wife

Jesse Owens and Minnie Ruth Solomon met at Fairmont Junior High School in Cleveland when they were 15 and 13. They fell in love, and their relationship grew stronger during their school years.

They had their first daughter, Gloria, in 1932; three years later, on July 5, 1935, they married. They had two more daughters, Marlene in 1937 and Beverly in 1940.

Ruth Solomon was a loving mother to her children and a supportive partner. Their unbreakable marriage lasted for 48 years until Owens died in 1980.

Jesse Owen’s Family

Although Jesse and Ruth led a relatively private life, it was evident that Owens treasured family moments. Despite his busy schedule and the fame that came his way, Jesse made his family his priority and was dedicated to providing them with a comfortable life.

Jesse Owens After The Olympics

After winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics, the team traveled to compete in Sweden. However, Owens returned to the United States to capitalize on the lucrative endorsement offers. 

Despite being a gold medalist, Owens faced racial biases back home, making it challenging to make a living. He found work in a gas station, as a playground janitor, and at a dry cleaning firm. Desperate times led him to race against motorbikes, cars, trucks, and horses for cash prizes.

In 1942, Owens joined the Ford Motor Company as a liaison between black and white workers in their civil rights division. Later, he moved to Chicago to open a public relations agency.

In the late 1940s, he co-founded the West Coast Negro Baseball League, even racing against horses for entertainment during intermissions. However, the league disbanded after only two months.

Towards the end of his life, Owens tried to persuade President Jimmy Carter to retract his call for the U.S. to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics. However, Owens’ pleas were ignored. Despite his struggles, Owens remained an iconic figure in sports history, his legacy a testament to courage and resilience in overcoming personal and societal challenges.

Death From Lung Cancer

Owens began smoking a pack of cigarettes a day at the young age of 32, continuing this habit for 35 years. In December of 1979, his health began to deteriorate fast when he was diagnosed with a highly aggressive and drug-resistant form of lung cancer, which resulted in numerous hospitalizations.

Sadly, Owens succumbed to the disease at the age of 66 in Tucson, Arizona, on March 31, 1980. At the time of his passing, he was surrounded by his wife and family.

His final resting place is Lake of Memories at Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. This location holds a special significance as it is close to where his children and extended family continue to reside.

For those who wish to delve deeper into such inspirational sports narratives, we recommend checking out the book collection Lessons From Sports, available on Blinkist. As a reader, you will gain valuable insights into the world of renowned sportspersons like Owens and stories of resilience, determination, and glory in sports history.

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