Ruth Vernon White
December 26, 1918 - May 5, 2014
Minnie Ruth Vernon was born in Belzoni, Mississippi and raised in Monroe, Louisiana after moving there when she was a baby. From birth, she has been known as "Ruth". She is next to the youngest of seven biological siblings and four half siblings. She is the last survivor in her immediate family.
Ruth grew up during the Great Depression. Her father, Andia Vernon was the Postmaster of a small Parrish and later worked in insurance. When the Depression hit, he became unemployed and moved his family to the country where they could raise food and animals for survival. Her mother, Minnie Emma Stovall, was a schoolteacher
in a one-room schoolhouse before marrying Andia, a widower, with four children. His children were students at the schoolhouse.
Biological siblings from oldest to youngest include: Myrtle Celest, William Stovall, Nanie Mae ("Peggy"), Thelma Ione, Maxine Louise, Minnie Ruth, and Doris Allie. Her father, Andia Vernon, died when Ruth was thirteen years old. The second oldest biological sibling and only boy, William Stovall Vernon, died two years later. Both died of pneumonia.
During much of the depression, there was a house full of women, as her father and brother had passed away. Her oldest sisters, Myrtle and Peggy, worked for the telephone company to support the family. She remembers a family who loved listening to music, singing, and reading books.
While in fifth grade, Ruth was selected to represent her school at the "State Rally" where she won second place in "English" for the State of Louisiana. As a young girl and teen-ager Ruth worked in her Aunt's photography studio "tinting" black and white photos. During her junior year in high school, Ruth had to drop out of school to work at Woolworth's full time to support her mother and younger sister.
Ruth met Lloyd Medric White in high school. When Ruth was twenty-two, she married Lloyd on October 13, 1941. Ruth became a Navy wife and mother, living in various places dictated by her husband's Naval assignments. While in Monroe, Ruth attended business school and worked in a jewelry store. While living in New Jersey, she worked in New York as secretary for a large department store.
Son Dave White was born in Monroe, Louisiana on April 21, 1944. Ruth and the new baby moved to Shoemaker Navy Base in California, then to Richmond, California where daughter "Dell" White was born on July 27, 1946. In 1948, Ruth traveled by ship to Guam with two young children, ages 2 and 4, where they experienced a major typhoon. Ruth and the children returned to the U.S. in 1949 to stay with relatives in Louisiana and in 1950 moved to live in San Diego where Lloyd was stationed.
In 1954, Ruth traveled by ship to Japan with her two children, ages 8 and 10, where the family lived for two years, returning to their same home in San Diego. While in Japan, Ruth took lessons in flower arranging, painting by number, and worked as Secretary to the Admiral's Advisor on Cargo. The family lived off the base in Kamakura for a year, then moved to the Yokosuka Naval Base. During their stay in Japan, the family employed a nineteen year old maid, Mariko Igarashi, who became a valued and loved member of the family.
Upon returning from Japan to her San Diego home in 1956, Ruth started taking classes in china painting, later known as Porcelain Art. She joined the local China Painters Guild and Porcelain Art Association, and became a member of the International Porcelain Art Teachers Organization. In 1966, Ruth began teaching porcelain art at home while taking oil painting lessons; returned to school and received her high school diploma, and took community college classes on teaching theory.
In 1972, Ruth started her own business, called The Old Lamplighter China Painting Studio, where she sold antiques and taught china painting. During this time she began designing and building a china painting studio as an addition to her home. In 1975, Ruth transferred the china painting business to her home studio where she taught china painting until 1998.
In July 1980, Ruth attended the International Porcelain Art Teachers' Convention, where her hand painted plate, "POPPIES by E.Vough" was published in the Convention Catalogue. On October 3, 1980, Ruth's work was written up in the "Living" section of "The Daily Californian" newspaper where pictures of Ruth in her home studio were published. After retiring from teaching, Ruth continued painting while taking workshops from internationally known Porcelain Artists in San Diego. She took more lessons when she moved to Oregon in 2002, continuing to paint until 2006.
In addition to porcelain art, sewing was an integral part of Ruth's life. She taught herself how to sew as a young girl, making her own clothes and later becoming an accomplished seamstress. Ruth enjoyed the fellowship of church, reading, and theater. She attended the First Congregational United Church of Christ and was a member of Women's Circle. She was also a member of the Tome Trek Book Club and attended community theater performances whenever possible.
Ruth is survived by her son Dave White; daughter and son-in-law, Dell and Rich Ford; grandchildren Davina, Melissa, Danielle, Wendi and Martin; great-grandchildren Sage, Jericho, Alyssa, Aubryana, Jesse, Tyler, Davin, Jadin, and Kody.
Ruth will live in our hearts as the kind, gracious, talented, competent and generous person she was throughout her life. She will rest beside her beloved husband of 69 years, Lloyd White.
A Celebration of Life Service and Reception will be Sunday, May 18 at 3:00 at First Congregational United Church of Christ 700 Marion Street NE, Salem. An Interment Service will be Monday, May 19 at 2:30 at Willamette National Cemetery 11800 SE Mt Scott Blvd, Portland. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.