1923 - 2021
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Ruth May Connally Damsbo Runge loved life and lived out loud. She passed away on December 12, 2020, in El Centro, California. Born in Upland, California, on September 3, 1923, she was the only child of Grace Beckwith and Oscar F. Ganard. She graduated from Fontana High School only months before Pearl Harbor. She went to work as a secretary at Norton Air Force Base's Air Service Command. After World War II, Ruth worked in the office for a wholesale paper warehouse company where she met and then married Clarence Connally. They moved to El Centro in 1949 where she gave him "one year", calling the Imperial Valley, "The Jumping off Place of the Earth". After 71 years, Ruth still fondly called it home. She and Clarence raised two children, Edward and Carolyn and celebrated 28 years of marriage before his passing. She traveled the world with Jerry Damsbo and enjoyed a six-year marriage. She found comfort with Howard Runge as she mourned the loss of her daughter and Howard the loss of his wife. They were married for three years. In El Centro, Ruth was employed at Trapnell Distributing and worked as a bookkeeper, regaling her family with stories of her time at the company and the adventures she had because of her job. Ruth loved El Centro. She found fun and friendships. She joined Sts. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, Eastern Star, American Cancer Society, Pilot Club, Republican Women's Club, Women's Ten Thousand club, DAR and PEO. She enjoyed painting, shopping, and bridge. She loved fashion and kept up on the current styles. Christmas was her favorite holiday. Known as Nana to her grandchildren, she enjoyed fishing with Clarence and often spoke of Gold Beach, Oregon. She was proud to tell us that she quit smoking on May 17, 1967, at 6 p.m., whitewashing the fence every time she felt a craving. She was a pillar of strength to her family. In 1972, Ruth was secretary to the Pilot International Club. She celebrated 33 years with the Women's Community Club of Brawley, serving from 1979-2012. She met Richard Nixon in 1962 at the Elks Barbara Worth Club during an El Centro Optimist club meeting and Gerald Ford in 1982. She served the American Cancer Society, leading fund-raising efforts for Daffodil Days for more than eleven years. In 1991, Ruth was the recipient of the Olin Gresham Memorial award for her service. She served Sts. Peter and Paul Episcopal church for decades, serving on the board, the women's guild, as treasurer, and working the annual Palette and Palate. She served as Republican Women's Club president in 1992-1994. She will be remembered for her beauty, kindness, wit, and strength of character. She was a blessing to her family and friends, holding a place in the hearts of many and cherished by her family. Ruth was preceded in death by her first husband, Clarence Connally, in 1978; her second husband, Jerry Damsbo, in 1985; her son, Edward Connally in 1989; her daughter, Carolyn Juleson in 1998 and her third husband, Howard Runge in 2003. She is survived by her grandchildren, Elizabeth and Jody Criman, Robert Juleson, Melissa Weyerman, Marnie Keys, Rosie Frausto, Stacy Bodus and Valerie Martell; nine great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren. The family would like to thank El Centro for being "the jumping-off place of the earth" that she never jumped from. El Centro was her home, and she loved it here. She always said, "You don't have to shovel the sunshine." Memorial donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Women's Guild of Sts. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 3446, El Centro, CA 92244.

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Published in Imperial Valley Press Online from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, 2021.
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3 entries
January 29, 2021
She was a delight to know!
Carolyn Bertussi
January 20, 2021
I feel very fortunate to have had the chance to get to know Ruth. Her sense of humor and her spunk was a joy! I’m so thankful, too, that she was “willing to share” Beth with Jody! The three made many happy memories together.

Rest In Peace, Ruth! And don’t get into too much trouble organizing everything over there!
Paula Criman
January 20, 2021
I was very sorry to hear of Ruth's passing. She was a lovely lady with a kind heart and a wonderful sense of humor. She had many losses in her life yet she able to move forward and enjoy her friends and grandchildren and many activities.
Sharon Warnock
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