Ruth Alice Mathes
Ruth Alice Mathes was born August 30, 1941 and passed away May 8, 2021 from lung cancer. A career librarian, she graduated from East Tennessee State with a degree in Library Science and obtained her Masters in Elementary Administration from the University of South Carolina.
Ruth battled cancer not once but twice, surviving multiple myeloma for ten years before developing small cell lung cancer. She volunteered for the Discovery Shop for many years, successfully combining her love of shopping with support for cancer treatment. Her talent for interior decoration led her to design many wonderful displays for the shop.
Ruth's career took her from Tennessee to South Carolina, and then to Anchorage, Alaska where she lived for many years before moving to the Palm Springs area to enjoy retirement. Her interests included travel and music — she played the accordion and piano. Her last trip before her diagnosis was to Guatemala. Ruth also believed in the importance of volunteering. She served on the board of Identity, Inc. for nine years, volunteered with the Anchorage Concert Association, worked as an AA sponsor and volunteer. She also served on the board of directors of her local HOA.
This remembrance would not be complete without sharing that Ruth met Elvis Presley in 1958. He was traveling by train to Memphis to report to the draft board for his Army induction. Ruth and her friends, after some clever detective work, staked out the depot where the train was most likely to stop. Their efforts were successful. She took great joy in describing Elvis' reaction when he stepped out of the train for fresh air and caught sight of them: "He shook his head and said, 'What are you scalawags doing here?" Among her effects is a black-and-white snapshot documenting the occasion.
Published by The Desert Sun from May 12 to May 18, 2021.