Ruth Byrd

Ruth Clare Byrd

Mar. 19, 1943 - Feb. 19, 2013

Ruth Clare Byrd, 69, entered the glory of God's presence on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at Kaiser Medical Center in Modesto after a brave three-week battle with acute myeloid leukemia. She was born March 19, 1943, in San Francisco to Reece and Alice Wimmer. Ruth was raised in Brisbane, studied piano at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and graduated from St. John's Ursuline High School in 1961. She attended San Francisco City College full of ambition to pursue degrees in music and education. She married her loving husband, George Byrd, in 1967. They began their family in Mill Valley, and then in 1981 moved to Stockton with their two daughters. Ruth masterfully balanced caring for her family, working as a travel agent, and completing her higher education. She earned a B.A. at the University of San Francisco and a teaching credential at the University of the Pacific. She began teaching at St. George Parish School in 1990 and loved the school, her coworkers, and all of her students so much that she worked there until the day she received her diagnosis. Community service was an integral part of Ruth's teaching practices and as part of that service her classes hosted an annual Thanksgiving Handicapable Luncheon for disabled adults. She was St. George's head coach and coordinator for the San Joaquin County Science Olympiad. Her passion for teaching and literacy earned several literature awards from the governor and State Senate. Her love of traveling led her to complete a 600-mile walking pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago in Spain at the age of 65.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 38 years, George E. Byrd (2006). She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Dana Byrd and husband Dr. Craig Stumpf; daughter, Erin Torell and husband Kevin; granddaughters, Bella Torell and Sophia Stumpf. A memorial Mass will be held on Friday, March 15th, at 4:00 p.m., at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Stockton. The committal will be held Saturday, March 16th, at 2:00 p.m., at Cypress Lawn in Colma.

In lieu of flowers the family would like eligible donors to donate blood. Ruth received numerous blood transfusions during her treatments and her family would like to help others battling leukemia. Donations can also be made in her name to St. George Parish School.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 3, 2013