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PUTNAM, Ruth Anna Of Arlington, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, May 4, at the age of 91. She was surrounded by her children and loved ones. As a professor of philosophy at Wellesley College, a devoted mother and grandmother, and an active member of the Worship and Study minyan at Harvard Hillel, as well as several community organizations, she touched the lives of countless people with her incisive mind, her sharp wit, her passion for justice and ethics, and her tireless spirit. Born in Germany on September 20, 1927 to a Jewish mother and Christian father, who were active in the anti-Nazi movement, she and her family endured great hardships. She survived the war in Germany, mostly raised by her paternal grandparents. At the age of five she was sent to live with her grandparents when her parents went into hiding and eventually fled Germany for the United States. She did not see her parents again until she was 21 when she immigrated to the

United States in 1948. Ruth Anna studied chemistry at UCLA, obtaining a B.S. degree, when she fell in love with Philosophy of Science and later other branches of philosophy. She earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at UCLA in 1962. After three years teaching philosophy at the University of Oregon, she moved to the Boston area in 1963 and became Professor of Philosophy at Wellesley College, serving as chair of the Department 1979-1982 and 1990-1993. In 1998, she became Professor Emerita after inspiring students for decades. Her passions and contributions to the field of philosophy included moral philosophy and the philosophy of William James and of John Dewey. With her husband, noted philosopher Hilary Putnam, she co-authored Pragmatism as a Way of Life: The Lasting Legacy of William James and John Dewey (Harvard University Press). She also was the editor of The Cambridge Companion to William James (Cambridge University Press). Ruth Anna and Hilary met in 1960 at the International Congress on Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science and quickly fell in love. Their long life together (Hilary passed away in 2016 at the age of 89), was filled with intellectual discourse and collaboration, activism for social justice, world travel, humor, family, numerous friends, and love. Ruth Anna is survived by her four children, Erika & Derrick, Samuel & Rebecca, Joshua & Jennifer, and Maxima & Don; and four granddaughters, Tanisha, Lauren, Mara, and Eva. She was greatly loved and will be greatly missed. Services are at the Levine Chapel, 470 Harvard St., BROOKLINE, on Monday, May 6, at 1:30pm. Interment at the Crawford St. Memorial Park, Baker Street, West Roxbury. Memorial observances will be held on Monday, May 6, and Tuesday, May 7, from 7-9pm at the home of Samuel Putnam and Rebecca Steinitz. In lieu of flowers, we welcome donations to Ruth Anna's favorite charity, Oxfam America, 226 Causeway St., 5th floor, Boston, MA 02114. Levine Chapels, Brookline


Published in The Boston Globe on May 6, 2019
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