Ruth Ellen Richardson Smith

Honored by:Rebecca Smith Ruthford
Brick location:E:3  map

Ruth Ellen (Richardson) Smith was born August 21, 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin to Rush and Marion Richardson. She grew up as did most little girls. She loved animals, especially dogs, and traveling. She had a cocker spaniel most of her life.

Ruth was a free spirit, very independent. When she started college at Lawrence College, she had aspirations of becoming a veterinarian. After being discouraged from Veterinary School (girls weren't doctors), she went to work for North Central Airlines.

She met William N. Smith through church and they married on May 14, 1961. William was in the Air Force. Shortly after their daughter, Rebecca Ellen was born February 3, 1962, they were transferred to Japan.

From Japan to Shreveport, Louisiana to West Germany (Bitburg and Spangdalem) to Omaha, Nebraska in 1974. Then to Wichita Falls, Texas in 1980 until October 1982. William retired and they returned to Omaha.

Ruth was always very active in volunteer groups. She helped with Girl Scouts as long as Rebecca was in scouting. She had been a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor since she was 18 years old. She taught dog obedience classes.

In the middle 1970's, she completed her college degree and received a teaching certificate. She taught Junior High English and German for four or five years. Then she went back into the travel business.

This brick is placed to honor her memory by her only child, Rebecca. As most mothers and daughters do, we fought regularly. We were just starting to become close, like friends, when she died.

For the most part, Ruth was just an ordinary person. However, she was well respected in the travel business as well as in the school system. She would always do more for others than for herself. It wasn't until after her death in August 1988 that I realized how truly special she was.

More people commented to me how wonderful she was and how special. To others, she never knew the word "no". To me she always did. She was a wonderful wife and mother, with a good career. She frequently pushed herself to the limit for others. It is sad that she died so young; there was so much that she still wanted to do.

Ruth Ellen Smith was truly a remarkable woman and I honor her life and her memory. She is always with me and this is my way to thank her for everything she was and how much she meant to me.

Submitted on 3/14/94