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APPLETON RUTH D. APPLETON Ruth D. Appleton, a long time resident of Washington, D.C. and career lawyer with the Securities and Exchange Commission, died on Friday, October 30, 2009 at the Pleasant View Center in Concord, NH. Ruth was 93 years old. Born in Jersey City, NJ, Ruth migrated with her family to Washington, D.C. in the early 1930''s where she attended public schools and ultimately graduated from Catholic University''s Columbus School of Law in 1941. With a pioneering spirit and her new law degree in hand, Ruth was told by many prospective employers that, "You have all the qualifications, but we don''t hire women." Although she would rise to the SEC''s top ranks, in 1941 there were no attorney positions available at the SEC''s headquarters office in Washington. Declining an offer to work as a secretary, Ruth opted to move to the Baltimore Office where she began her career as the first female attorney in the agency. Upon witnessing the quality of Ruth''s work, her supervisors immediately realized her talent and potential. Struggling against a male dominated profession and facing the insults of daily isolation, Ruth persevered. She transferred from the SEC''s Baltimore office to the Washington Regional Office and ultimately was put in charge of the Regulation A function. With a subsequent graduate degree in financial administration from Strayer University, Ruth''s outstanding knowledge of securities law and experience were recognized in her appointment as the Commission''s Chief of the Office of Small Business and Tenders in the Corporation Finance Division. Ruth went on to achieve numerous awards and professional recognitions from the Commission and the bar association and won the. admiration and respect of her peers. "Being a women was not an issue any longer," as Ruth would say, "I passed the test. Former SEC Commissioner A.A. Sommer, Jr. (1973-1976) once stated that Appleton was "unquestionably one of the brightest in the SEC firmament." In fact, Commissioner Sommer placed Appleton "in the pantheon of SEC heroes." After 40+ years, Ruth retired from the SEC, and continued to pursue her favorite endeavor of traveling and visiting different parts of the world. For many years she traveled as a lawyer ambassador with the People to People organization, reaching many far away countries around the globe. Ultimately resettling in New Port Richey Florida, Ruth continued to travel and, as a lifetime member of the American Bar Association, participated in numerous government sponsored organizations for retired government professionals. She moved to Concord, NH five years prior to her death to be closer to family. Ruth was the long time companion of the late Edward F. Griffin, who also worked at the SEC and resided in Washington D.C. Ruth is survived by her late cousin''s wife Dorothy McGovern of Selbyville, DE, and nephews F. Paul Russo and his wife Kate of Bow, NH and Carl E. Russo and his wife Angela of Santa Barbara, CA, and her niece, Nina. R. Pagliaro and her husband Frank of Kennett Square, PA, and many grand nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at the Bennett Funeral Home in Concord, NH on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 10 a.m. A Catholic gravesite service will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at the Cedar Crest Cemetery in Suitland, MD at 12 noon. Those interested in attending the graveside ceremony can contact Huntt Funeral Home, 3035 Old Washington Road, Waldorf, MD, 301-645-7021 for directions. The Bennett Funeral Home of Concord and the Huntt Funeral Home of Waldorf, Maryland are in charge of the arrangements.
Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 3, 2009