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Ruth Clark

July 20, 1922 — Jan. 1, 2019

Loving wife, mother, grandmother, and devoted friend Ruth Clark, 96, passed away Jan. 1, 2019, at home surrounded by her family.

Ruth was born July 20, 1922, to The Rev. and Mrs. A.H. Baldinger in Butler, Penn., the youngest of four children. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1943. In the spring of 1944 she met Marion Clark at Case Western Reserve University, where she was in nurses’ training and he was in medical school. They married on Jan. 6, 1945, in a ceremony officiated by her father. Ruth obtained a master of nursing degree in 1946 and earned the second highest score in the state on the nursing proficiency exam. The couple lived in Pittsburgh while Ruth worked as a nurse and started their family. From 1951-1953, Ruth, Marion and their three children lived in England, where Marion was stationed at an Air Force hospital. In 1953, Marion and Ruth settled in Longview.

Ruth was active as a homemaker and in the community. She was a member of PEO (Chapter BN), Altrusa, and the Kelso United Methodist Church. She volunteered as a Red Cross nurse from 1956 to 1983. For three years she served as chairman of the Clearview Park development committee, overseeing the landscaping and development of the park. She served as chairman of the Lower Columbia College Health Services Education Advisory Committee for nine years, helping to start the LPN and RN nursing programs.

She was named First Citizen of Cowlitz County in 1980 and received Phi Delta Kappa’s Outstanding Service award in 1983. Ruth served on the Kelso School Board for 22 years, was president of the Washington State School Directors Association, and vice president of the Western States of the National School Board Association. She was appointed by Governor Spellman to a committee on education policy, and was president of the Cowlitz County Community Network for several years. On her 87th birthday she was unanimously selected to the Kelso School Board to fill a vacant position. Ruth was a tireless advocate for improving the lives of children.

Ruth enjoyed sewing aprons for the church bazaar, sending birthday greetings to friends, watching the hummingbirds at her feeder, reading, and visiting with her grandchildren.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Marion Clark; two brothers, Wallace and Wilbur Baldinger; and a sister, Duira Ward.

She is survived by her six children, Kathy Reeves, Carol Barrett, Patty Donahue (Mike), Susan Petersen, Bill Clark (Ann) and Nancy Blomdahl (David), 15 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Ruth and Marion Clark Endowed Scholarship, Kelso Public Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 344, Kelso, WA 98626.

A memorial service is planned for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Kelso United Methodist Presbyterian Church.

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