At 8:55 pm on Monday, January 25th with her family surrounding her bed, my wife Liz’s mother, “Grandmother Ruth” as she was affectionately known by her family, passed into eternity. She was 83. As my son Isaac described her final hours on a recent Facebook post, “Our family escorted her as far as this earth would allow, and Jesus took her the rest of the way.” C.S. Lewis, the renowned Oxford professor and writer, described the death experience of those who have depended on Christ for the forgiveness of their sins as like moving from one room to the next. As Ruth was walking from her room in Colorado to her room in heaven, all of us sang “Amazing Grace,” laughed, cried, and told stories of Ruth’s exploits.
Ruth was a fierce lover of God, the Bible, and her family. She is renowned for her defense of the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, and her family members. Weighing in at a hundred and nothin’ and standing at barely five feet, she packed a warrior heart. Everyone in our family has a story of Ruth coming to their rescue. From running off neighbors who harassed her grandchildren, to standing strong against a potential bully, she played no one’s fool. I remember her raising her little umbrella in England to warn a mean lady to not mess with her daughter! The memories are thick right now.
Born during the depression, into an Iowa farm family with no electricity or running water, Ruth sold chickens in order to attend and graduate from Drake University. She lost her brother in World War II at 12 years old, and helped her family through a season of deep brokenness and sorrow. Faced with financial uncertainty in her mid 40’s, Ruth started out as a teller in a bank and rose to be an indispensable executive with Charles Schwab in San Francisco. She worked five days a week for Schwab, riding the local train until she was 77, making her the company’s oldest employee.
In her last ten years of life she broke her hip, her knee, a femur, and had trouble with discs in her back. She was an overcomer who did not often complain of her past struggles. She recovered from her setbacks, and always looked to the future with love, faith, hope and a sense of humor. Though bloodied by life, she picked up her sword each day and lived as full of a life as she knew how.
Ruth Perkins, warrior princess. We are all better because we had the privilege to know her.
On the Road,