Ruth Pokrass

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March 17, 1924 - October 11, 2013

Ruth Pokrass died peacefully and surrounded by love at Sarah House in Santa Barbara, CA on October 11, 2013.

Ruth was born in New York City and raised in Reading, PA, daughter of the late Harry and Etta Berger and sister of the late Anita Reuben. In 1965, she drove across the country - including crossing the Rockies in a blizzard -- with two of her three daughters, all of her possessions that would fit in the car, and a dream of starting a new life by the ocean. She settled in Santa Barbara, and with enormous courage, strength, and intelligence, succeeded wildly in realizing her dream. She became a real estate agent and then broker, started her own firm, La Casa Realty, and became the first woman President of the Santa Barbara Board of Realtors, which later honored her as a Lifetime Member. With her experience, Ruth knew the importance of financial literacy for women. She became a Certified Financial Planner, and taught financial management classes specifically designed to encourage other women to be independent.

In addition to her great skill and unwavering ethics as a realtor, Ruth was a highly accomplished visual artist. After retiring to Carpinteria, she became deeply involved in the arts community and the Santa Barbara Art Association. Ruth also loved words, which led her to everything from being an avid Scrabble player to becoming the confidante, trustee, and executor for the great poet, Kenneth Rexroth.

Particularly at holiday times, Ruth's house was full of love and laughter. Nobody did holidays like Ruth; there was always enough food and presents and joy for twice the number of people there. Ruth was an avid shell collector and beach walker; until it became hard for her to walk, she walked on the beach every day.

Ruth is survived by her daughters Sian Barbara Allen, Hannah Davie, Meg Pokrass, granddaughters Emily (Meghan) and Molly, nephews Mark (Deanna) and Michael (Barbara), niece Marcy (Tony), and friends, son-in-law Doug Bond and former son-in-law, Peter (Michele).

Toward the end of her life, Ruth was cared for with astonishing love and devotion by caregiver and family friend, Barbara Clingwald and her neighbors, the Hernandez family. In her last three weeks of life, Ruth lived at the incredible Sarah House hospice in Santa Barbara. There, she found love, peace, and impeccable care in the hands of every staff member, as did our family. We request that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to:

Sarah House

PO Box 20031

Santa Barbara, CA 93120

Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20, 2013
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