Ruth Laverna Wright
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November 26, 1921 - March 15, 2013
When at a young age, a very little Ruth takes herself to the nearby YMCA and asks how she can volunteer to help any one in any way, the world is in for a treat. Ruth has left a legacy of love, compassion and giving.
Ruth was born in a small town in Iowa on November 26, 1921. She spent her early years on the family farm and loved being with all of the animals. Despite the Great Depression and being very poor, her family fed and clothed many who were even less fortunate. Her family moved to St Paul, Minnesota and eventually to Long Beach where she lived until the time of her passing.
She attended Jordon High School where she became very involved with school activities and met and later married her high school sweetheart, Jack Grisham. She received her AA from Long Beach City College where she was honored with the Viking Award for service and was named the LBCC Outstanding Woman of the Year. She received her Bachelors in English from UCLA and her Masters in Education from USC. She wrote her thesis on the gifted child. In her many years as an educator, she was an elementary school teacher, a Sunday school teacher, a Vice Principal, a Principal and, at the end of her working career, she taught CSULB student teachers how to teach, thus passing along her remarkable gift of teaching. An educator at heart, Ruth later married William Odie Wright who at the time was the Long Beach Superintendent of Schools.
Ruth spent her life giving to others and in particular to children and students and was often a founding member and always an active member of countless organizations including the Long Beach City College Senior Studies program, the Assistance League, International City Theater, AAUW and The Long Beach Symphony whose goals continue to be to make things better for those in need and to contribute to the community. Two of her greatest passions were the Long Beach City College Foundation where she served by providing quality education to hundreds of students through scholarships and The Children's Clinic whose mission it is to provide quality health care and education to children and families in need. Because of her incredible life of service, she was honored to be chosen as a Rick Racker Woman of the Year. This same devotion to helping others through volunteerism and selfless giving continued to the time of her passing, touching lives with her compassion and love.
Although self reported to be shy and private, Ruth was larger than life in her relationships with family and friends and was "mom" to many. Her love of others had no boundaries. She was full of energy and enthusiasm, optimism and kindness. She found goodness in everything. The door to her home of almost 60 years was always open as was the door to her heart. She was the absolute happiest when her home was filled with family and friends. And oh how she loved her two dear grandchildren. To have known Ruth, to have loved Ruth - to have been loved by Ruth is a true gift.
She is survived by her daughter, Julie Grisham and husband Kenneth Winters; her daughter-in-law, Andrea Walhof-Grisham; grandchildren Jonneke Grisham and Lucas Grisham as well as many nieces and nephews, family and friends.
She is sadly predeceased by her shining star Jonathan Grisham, her son. She is also predeceased by Jack Grisham and W. Odie Wright; sister and brother in law, Lois and Homer Blaisdell; nephews and great-niece.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, April 13th from 11 am to 3 pm (service at 11am followed by nourishment and celebration) at Old Ranch Country Club, 3901 Lampson Ave, Seal Beach, CA 90740. Please RSVP to (562) 498-2050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the "Ruth Wright Memorial Scholarship" at the Long Beach City College Foundation, 4901 E Carson St, Long Beach, CA 90808 or to "The Children's Clinic" attention: The Ruth Wright Memorial Fund at 2790 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90806.
And Ruth would say that the best way to honor her life, each other and God would be to hug your family and friends lovingly and often, let them know how much you love them and give of yourself to make life better for others. And "say your prayers."
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram from Mar. 22 to Mar. 24, 2013