Skyward quest to honor Joliet woman
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org February 21, 2013 5:42PM
Updated: March 23, 2013 6:30AM
Julie Mulhern will race to the top of the John Hancock Center this weekend in Chicago. She will climb the many flights of stairs in honor of her late mother, who helped a family tree grow to its own impressive heights here in Joliet.
Mulhern, a Joliet native, is participating in Hustle Up the Hancock — a climb to the 94th-floor observatory of Chicago’s fourth-tallest building. The event raises funds for the Respiratory Health Association, to benefit lung disease research, advocacy and education.
Mulhern will run for the memory of her mother, Pat Ruth, who died of lung cancer last year.
Hustle Up the Hancock begins at 7 a.m. Sunday at the John Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. Registration for the event is closed, according to the event website, www.hustleupthehancock.org.
However, Mulhern is still raising funds. For more information, visit the event website, click on “Support a Climber,” and type in Julie Mulhern’s name.
Mulhern, now of Western Springs, is a daughter of the late John Patrick Ruth and Patricia (McCabe) Ruth. Both husband and wife were known as Pat Ruth. The couple raised six children — Mary, Tim, Mike, Kathryn, Maureen and Julie — in Joliet. There are now 16 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter in the family.
John Patrick, born on July 4, 1931, was a U.S. Army veteran in the Korean War. He also was a Joliet grade school teacher and president of Northern Illinois Steel Supply Co. He died on Oct. 3, 2006.
Patricia was a graduate of St. Francis Academy, the predecessor of the current Joliet Catholic Academy. She died of lung cancer on July 3, 2012. She was 78.
This fall, their daughter Julie Mulhern was doing some online research, and she read about Hustle Up the Hancock. The event made her think of her mother, who died of lung cancer.
“That was my deciding factor — that I was going to do this, and I was going to do it in her honor,” Mulhern said.
After making the decision to participate, she has been training all winter.
“I’ve run 5K races, and I’m always physically active, but I’ve never climbed 94 floors to the top.”