Ruth Steedley, 81, of Sea Isle, (center), the Founders Award winner, with daughters Jane Atkinson (left) Barbara Woodside and Debbie Erdner during a family vacation. (Photos courtesy Ruth Steedley)


Ruth Steedley doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon even though by her age, many people have opted to take it easy and enjoy life at a slower pace.

But for Steedley, a Sea Isle City married mother of three, what keeps her going, what she loves, is making others happy.

And at 82 next month, she has spent many of those years pleasing people.

For 35 of them, including the present, Steedley has worked at Freda Real Estate in town showing prospective buyers and renters the homes of their dreams.

“You just stagnate when you sit,” Steedley said with a laugh. “That’s not me. I like to help people find their summer homes. Rentals make people happy. It is for a vacation.”

She added, “Many people just have one week out of 52 in a year. You want it to be right for them. It is a nice feeling to be able to find something affordable and suitable for them.”

Ruth Steedley (light blue shirt) with her colleagues at Freda Real Estate.

Steedley’s contributions to the business community earned her the 2019 Founders Award by the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization. She will be recognized during the Chamber’s annual Around the World Social on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Oar House Pub from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“It overwhelmed me when I heard I was getting the award,” Steedley said. “Good grief. I was very humbled by it. I think it is so sweet. I am very grateful for it.”

The Founders Award recognizes people in the business, civic or political community who make significant contributions to the city, according to the Chamber.

Steedley, a former Chamber president, said she feels blessed to be considered in the group of city leaders who are past Founders Award winners, including former Councilman John Divney, former Mayor Mike McHale and former Commissioner Jim Iannone.

In addition to being well known for her real estate career, she is also credited with turning around the Chamber when it was struggling about six or seven years ago.

“There was just a lack of interest. I thought the best method was to visit every shopkeeper and new one and tell them what the Chamber had to offer,” Steedley explained. “It seemed to work. My own work suffered a bit, but it was worth it.”

Since then, Steedley said, under the direction of current Chamber President Chris Glancey, the organization is doing very well.

“Chris does a fabulous job for the community,” she noted.

Steedley said she is looking forward to the night she receives her award because family members are coming in for the special occasion.

She and her husband, Frank Steedley, see their daughters and other family members as often as possible. Their daughters are Jane Atkinson, of Savannah, Ga., Barbara Woodside, of Woodstown, N.J. and Debbie Erdner, of Watertown, Mass. They even get together for family trips to Florida and the Carolinas.

As for retirement, Steedley said she doesn’t plan on it anytime soon.

“I love my work. I had a few health issues this winter, which kept me at home in the recliner more than I’d like. As long as they (Freda Real Estate) will have me, as long as they will put up with me, I have no immediate intention of retiring.”

Ruth Steedley with her daughters on a Florida vacation four years ago.