Ruth Berg deVries passed away August 29, 2018, with complications from an infection stemming from lymphedema.
She was born August 14, 1930, in Toronto, Canada, to Hazel Zelpha and Waldemar Cornelius Berg. She grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., a commuter suburb of Manhattan, where her father worked as a civil engineer.
A gifted student, Ruth graduated as Valedictorian from Hastings High School in 1947, and summa cum laude from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 1951, with a major in Business and Economics. Fascinated by the 1950s department store culture, she earned an M.S. degree in Retailing from New York University and later worked as a systems engineer for AT&T in White Plains.
A three-month trip in 1956 to postwar Europe sparked Ruth's love of international travel and made her a life-long anglophile. She loved British mysteries and TV dramas, reveled in the Windsors' antics, and collected royal wedding teacups.
In 1958, Ruth married Rimmer de Vries, a recent immigrant from the Netherlands, whom she met through the New York University chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). The two moved to Princeton, N.J., to raise their three children: Rimmer, Jacqueline, and Joyce. As Rimmer served as chief economist at J.P. Morgan, they moved to a 200-year old farmhouse and 34-acre horse farm in Oldwick, N.J., where Ruth tended chickens, made jam, canned hundreds of quarts of tomatoes, and led a 4-H club.
Some of her happiest days were spent by the water, particularly at the Christian retreats of Keswick and Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island, N.J.
Ruth was an avid chronicler of her many trips overseas, to Russia, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Sudan, New Zealand, Hawaii, Hong Kong, the Galapagos, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and elsewhere.
A talented vocalist, she sang in the Wheaton College glee club and the Central Jersey Master Chorale, and gave frequent solos at church. She also loved the arts, never missing an opportunity to visit a good museum or attend opera or ballet. Good food was also a passion.
After Rimmer's retirement in 1995, they moved to Friday Harbor, Wash., a lovely haven accessible only by ferry or airplane. Two years later they bought a house on Camano Island, where they have now have lived for more than 20 years.
Ruth volunteered regularly at the Oldwick public library, various women's clubs, and was a loyal teacher at Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPs) at Camano Chapel.
Ruth is preceded in death by her sister, Priscilla; survived by her husband, Rimmer; sister, Florence; and three children: Rimmer Douglas (Susann) of Bowling Green, Ky., Jacqueline Ruth (Timothy Jones) of St. Paul, Minn., and Joyce Carol (Joe Perry) of Auburn, Ala.; and four grandchildren: Caroline, Rimmer Luke, Mariel, and Cecily.
A memorial service was held Sept. 7, 2018, at the Camano Lutheran Church, with help from the Mt. Vernon Christian Reformed Church.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to: Ruth Berg deVries Scholarship Fund, Wheaton College, 501 College Ave, Wheaton, Ill., 60187-5501.
Published in Stanwood Camano News on Oct. 2, 2018.