Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ruth Sanders Price died peacefully with her family on February 16, 2006, in Vinita. She was born May 5, 1920, near Butterfield, Missouri, to Pharis and Beatrice (Henbest) Sanders. She grew up on a small Ozark farm. Her memories of hoeing strawberries, making lye soap and butchering hogs have been recorded by Ruth for her grandchildren in a book she left for them. Ruth was one of 11 students graduating from Butterfield High School in 1937. She and her five remaining classmates have stayed close and held reunions every few years. Ruth attended Monett Junior College and went on to the University of Missouri where she graduated in Home Economics with a teaching certificate. Ruth demonstrated her patriotism and pride in her country by volunteering for service in the Navy during World War II. She has maintained friendships with 12 of her fellow WAVES to this day and the story of their friendship was featured in a story on National Public Radio 2 years ago with the dedication of the Women's Veterans Service Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ruth used the GI Bill to earn her Master's Degree from the University of Missouri. She was one of a few women to obtain an advanced degree in the 40's. She taught every level of students throughout her career and also served as a volleyball and basketball coach.

She married Charles H. Price in 1951 in Tahlequah and was a devoted mother to 6 children. She "never missed a show." She would always be counted on for homework help, cookies, sewing special costumes. She was a fabulous cook, a gifted seamstress and avid gardener.

Ruth's faith was evident in every part of her life. She quietly and steadfastly lived her love for God by caring for and helping many others in hospitals and nursing homes.

She was a pioneer for Special Olympics from its beginning in Oklahoma. She organized the first TARS group (Teens Aid Retarded) in the area and was instrumental in establishing employment opportunities for the disabled.

She returned to classrooms in her 50's by teaching at NEO in the Early Childhood Program It is common to meet a former student of hers in any part of northeastern Oklahoma. Ruth had time and energy for many students at NEO that were not even in her class. She welcomed athletes, or other students to her home for a little extra help on homework, a great meal or a quiet place away from the dorm.

Ruth served as a Red Cross Volunteer and in many clubs and organizations and was an avid reader. She was an expert in maintaining friendships from decades ago. She taught us all the importance of friendship.

She is survived by her sister Annabelle Bodenhamer of Springfield, Mo.; and six children, Ruth Ann Price of Grand Junction, Colo., Mary Sue Price of New York City, N. Y., Tom Price of Vinita, Okla., Lyle Price of Collinsville, Okla., Joe Price of Chelsea, Okla., and Lorri Price of California. She was extremely proud of six grandchildren, Emily, Jordan, Jill, Tori, Matthew and William who knew her as Nana. She always had time to listen and drink a cup of coffee.

Last June over a hundred and twenty people attended a celebration of her 85th birthday. Grace, beauty, and kindness punctuated her life. She was truly a beautiful person who never gave up hope and lived a life of courage. We will miss her.

Funeral Services were held at 1:00 p.m., Monday at the First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Charles W. Horton assisted by the Rev. Bob Barker. Interment was in the Maplewood Cemetery, Exeter, Missouri, under the direction of the Cooper-Althouse Funeral Home of Miami, Okla.

Pallbearers were Wayne Hilburn, Don Horn, Ben McGinnis, Leon Goodson, Steve McGinnis, and Tim McGinnis.

The family received friends at the Cooper-Althouse Funeral home on Sunday from 3 until 4:30 p.m.

contributions be made to Miami Public Library at 200 North Main Street, Miami, OK 74354 or the Special Olympics Oklahoma, 6835 South Canton, Tulsa, OK 74136.