Nancy Kathryn Ruiz

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NANCY KATHRYN RUIZ (NEE CLINKENBEARD) Nancy Kathryn Ruiz, software engineer, scientific translator, choral singer, and duplicate bridge master, died suddenly on August 26th, 2016 at the age of 79. She died without pain, shortly after air transport to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment of complex heart valve disease. Diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis over ten years earlier, she decided to forego open heart surgery and did continue to live without significant impairment of her activities. Nancy was born to Kathryn Clinkenbeard (nee Taylor) and Thomas Clinkenbeard in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on November 11th, 1936. She spent her toddler years in the former town of Woodford, Oklahoma, where her maternal grandfather was the local doctor. She attended public school in El Reno, Oklahoma, but after her junior year in high school was admitted to college. Having been told by chemical companies that they never hired women for lab work, she switched majors and graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in mathematics. She married the violinist Charles Joseph and went with him to Vienna and then Hamburg. In Hamburg she wrote an unsolicited letter to Standard Oil of Germany and became one of the first two women hired by them for technical work. While there her team developed software using machine language on the IBM 650, one of the first computers that could run programs that were stored in memory. She wrote documentation in German for pipeline allocation software and for applications of linear programming. After returning to the U.S. and divorcing, she maintained large-scale software for physicists in Austin, Texas, and Berkeley, California. At Berkeley she worked on bubble chamber software in support of the eventual Nobelist, Luis Alvarez. She also met and married Alberto Ruiz Moncayo, who was to become Mexico's leading expert in probability theory. With Alberto she moved to Mexico City, where she developed software at the Universidad Nacional Aut¢noma de M‚xico and wrote documentation in Spanish. She gave birth to her son, Carlos Ruiz Clinkenbeard, on October 16th, 1968. Soon after, her family moved to Montreal to avoid political turmoil in Mexico. She worked at Universit‚ du Qu‚bec … Montr‚al, where she wrote software documentation in French. They returned to Mexico, but divorced. Nancy and Carlos resettled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she developed software at Sandia Laboratories, including simulation of earth penetration by missiles. There she met Bob Walsh, a mathematician and physicist, who would become her long-term partner. After a brief stint as independent consultants, they took positions in Santa Fe with Science and Engineering Associates (later Apogen). In Santa Fe, Nancy worked on classified programs in nuclear safety, then retired to become a scientific translator, eventually winning the assignment to translate all issues of the Geobrugg employee magazine. She was accredited by the American Translators Association for German, French, and Spanish; was a founder of the New Mexico Translator and Interpreters Association; served as its President; and developed a web site in HTML that accommodated search by language pair. Carlos learned HTML from his mother and now uses it almost daily in his job as a web developer. Nancy sang with the Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus and with other choruses in Santa Fe. Although not a frequent participant in duplicate bridge, she achieved the rank of Ruby Life Master with the American Contract Bridge League and earned World Bridge Federation recognition by coming in first in the U.S. in a World Pairs event. Her partners included the late Rabbi Leonard Helman. Shortly before her death, she said that she had done everything that she had wanted to do. She felt that it was important to give way to succeeding generations. In addition to Bob and Carlos, Nancy is survived by her daughter-in-law Dawn Rebecca Ruiz (nee Del Mar) and her two grandchildren, Elena Catalina Del Mar Ruiz and Danilo James Del Mar Ruiz, all of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. She is also missed by Bob's children Greg and Adam, his five grandchildren, her close friends Vesta Webster and Sandra Place, and numerous friends who worked, sang, or played bridge with her. Activities to celebrate her life will be announced.
Published in Santa Fe New Mexican on Aug. 30, 2016