Ruth Demaree Mendenhall, passed away on Jan. 10, 2006, she was born in New Marian, Ind., Jan. 14, 1928, to James and Geneva Demaree. Ruth began a life that would blossom and flower into a woman of compassion and caring for others, civic and charitable commitment, deep pride in her family and friends, and an unwavering loyalty to all things positive.
As a child growing up in the rolling farm country of Indiana during the 1930s, Ruth learned early the values of hard work, frugality, bonds of the family, maintaining a strong spirit, and an appreciation for even the smallest of things. She developed a clear sense and vision of the world that would carry forward throughout her life, giving her an uncommon ability to write her own destiny.
Ruth left Indiana to join the aviation industry in its formative years, working in communications for Howard Hughes Trans World Airlines, based in Kansas City. The beautiful young Ruth, brimming with life and adventure, attracted the attention of a motivated young man who was steadfastly pursing a degree in Chiropractic medicine. Ben and Ruth would marry and, after moving to Nevada, Mo., would together build a highly successful practice that flourishes to this day.
Ruth's compassion for all who needed care would extend far beyond the Chiropractic practice that she and Ben had established. She gave of herself to the children of Nevada by serving on the Nevada School Board for nine years during which she became the first woman to serve as president of the board of education. She gave of herself by helping to form the Moss House for battered women. She gave of herself by serving on the Vernon County Ambulance Board. And she provided a limitless ear to all who asked her for guidance, counsel or comfort. She influenced all with whom she made contact. Her influence changed lives, always for the better.
With all of her civic and charitable accomplishments, with all of her friendships forged, Ruth was most proud of her family. In addition to Ben, she is survived by the daughter and son-in-law she adored, Susan and Bob Longmire, and the grandson, Alex, who is the brightest light of her life. Ruth had six brothers and sisters; Robert Demaree, Satellite Beach, Fla., Merrill Demaree, Indianapolis, Ind., Evelyn Strubbe and Carol Evans, New Marion, Ind., and Leah Panarisi and Leona Demaree, both deceased. She is also survived by a sister-in-law in Nevada, Joann Jenkins, and numerous nieces, nephews and loving in-laws. In turn, all whom she loved, loved Ruth.
In a lifetime of service, Ruth served in the following organizations: Vernon County Ambulance Board, Nevada R-5 Board, Girl Scout Leader in the Ozark Area Girl Scout Council, establishing member of the Board of Directors of Moss House, Nevada R-5 Scholarship Committee.
Ruth's employment included the Nevada office of the Western Missouri Opportunity Center and Farm and Home and Home Savings.
She was also actively involved in many city, county and state-wide political campaigns and community betterment programs.
A celebration of Ruth's life will be held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2006, at 3 p.m., at Ferry Funeral Home. Interment to follow in Newton Burial Park, Nevada. Friends may call until the hour of service. In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions to the Moss House or a Ruth Mendenhall Scholarship fund for NHS students, or the Vernon County Humane Society in care of Ferry Funeral Home.