Ruth R. Vanderwall, 97, a longtime Pullman resident, passed away at Bishop Place on Sunday Sept. 22, 2013, after a brief illness. Memorial services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at St. James Episcopal Church, with Rev. Mary Beth Rivetti officiating. A reception will follow in the parish hall.
Ruth was born, along with her twin brother Robert, on Dec. 5, 1915, to Guy and Mabel (Riley) Bedell in Wilmington, Ill. She grew up in Illinois and graduated from Carlock High School. She went on to attend Miss Gallagher's School of Business in the hope she would complete her education at Northwestern, but instead took a job out of school as a legal secretary.
World War II took Ruth to Sacramento, Calif., where she met her future husband of 67 years, Prescott Dean Vanderwall. The two were married July 17, 1946, in a ceremony at the Baptist Church. After their marriage, the couple moved around the country as Dean advanced his education and career, eventually moving to Pullman in 1956 where he had accepted a position with Washington State College (now University).
In 1960, Ruth became the program manager for the Division of Sciences at Washington State University and worked in that position until her retirement in 1982.
Ruth was a pillar of the local arts community and, along with Dean, was involved in many arts and culture organizations on the Palouse. Ruth was known best for her tenure as managing director of the Pullman Community Theater for nearly 30 years. In addition to the theater, Ruth and Dean were driving forces behind the formation of the Washington-Idaho Symphony and the Idaho-Washington Concert Chorale. Ruth was also active in many other community activities, which are too numerous to list.
In 2010, Dean and Ruth were honored by the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre in Moscow for their 50 years of patronage of the arts.
Ruth is survived her son, Duncan (Deb) Vanderwall of Pullman; daughter, Annette (John) Klei of Gordonville, Va.; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brother, William "Bill" Bedell of Texas. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dean, in July 2013; sister, Emily Jean Wilson; and brothers Robert Bedell and Willard Bedell.
The family requests memorial donations directed to St. James Episcopal Church or to one of the many local arts organizations that were so near to Ruth's heart.
Kimball Funeral Home of Pullman has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.kimballfh.com.