Date of BirthAugust 01, 1925

Ruth Peters Needham Obituary

Date of BirthAugust 01, 1925

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Date of DeathOctober 27, 2016

Ruth Peters Needham Obituary

from Pittsburgh, California, United States

RUTH PETERS NEEDHAM Ruth Peters Needham died peacefully at her home on October 27, 2016 surrounded by her loving family. She was born on August 1, 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA to German immigrant parents Ulrich and Anna Peters. Ruth was the tenth of ten children in the family. She lived in New Sheffield, PA and Waynesburg, OH as a child. In Ohio she attended a one room country school then graduated from Waynesburg High. At approximately the age of eight her mother took her to Germany for four months and she returned speaking German. After her mother's death and graduation from high school Ruth went to live with her sister in New York City then moved with her sister and husband to Colorado Springs where she attended Colorado College. At the age of 19 she went to California alone to attend UCLA. Shortly thereafter she met and married George Needham. She postponed her education and worked to put him through school at UCLA and then the USC School of Pharmacy with the help of the GI Bill. During this time they started building a family of four children. Once all of the children were in school Ruth went back and earned her BA in Elementary Education and her Elementary Teaching Credential at Long Beach State College. She taught in the 2nd and 3rd grades and also worked as a substitute teacher. Later in 1978 with two more young sons she earned her MA in Special Education with emphasis as a reading specialist. Ruth valued education and promoting the feeling of success for children. After the passing of her husband and son Chris, both in 1994, she moved to Humboldt County. Chris suffered from severe tardive dyskinesia as the result of psychiatric meds and died from a drug overdose. After his death and having another child in the mental health system, Ruth dedicated her energies to advocacy for changes in mental health treatment - less emphasis of medications and more on nutrition, counseling and development of life skills. She also was a strong advocate for training law enforcement in how to interact with those in crisis. Ruth was a dedicated proponent for peer support groups and was very involved with development and support of the Hope Center in Eureka. During these last few years she served on the Humboldt County Behavioral Health Board. In addition to mental health she has been very active in programs to support the disadvantaged and homeless with special concerns for shelter, food and helping them rise out of their situations. She served on committees, donated money and prepared food even through her 90th year. After moving to Humboldt, Ruth discovered the redwoods as her sanctuary and became a docent at Humboldt State Park and a Defender of the Redwoods. Being a member of the Fortuna Garden Club provided her with practice and knowledge in Northwest gardening. She enjoyed music and volunteered annually at the Jazz Festival. Ruth enjoyed socialization as a member of the Red Hat Society and the Fortuna swim group. Somehow she managed to find time for abundant travel to all 50 states, Europe, Russia, the Baltic States, China and her childhood dream, to see the animals in Africa. During her last days, Mom lamented that more had not been accomplished for her causes and she expressed concern for others. We, her family, are confident that she is embraced by God and he is telling her that hers was "a job well done". Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, all of her siblings, her husband George and adopted son Chris. She is survived by her children Sue, George, Pete, Patti, and Jeremy as well as grand and great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life is to be held at the Fortuna River Lodge Conference Center on Sunday, November 6th at 3PM with family friend Mason Philpot presiding. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to: Hope Center/HCMH, 720 Wood St. C/O Hope Center, Eureka, CA 95502; Betty Chinn's Homeless Fund, P.O. Box 736, Eureka, CA 95502. Another organization of your choice to help children and those in need. Please sign the guestbook at www.times-standard.com