Ruth Jones McNeill

McNeillRuth Jones McNeill, 72, on February 14, 2021, in Corvallis, Ore. Ruth was born in Chicago, Ill., on March 13, 1949, to William Hardy McNeill and Elizabeth Darbishire McNeill. Ruth excelled in school. She attended Swarthmore College from 1966 to 1970, majoring in anthropology. Ruth taught in primary school, first in West Hartford, Conn., and then in Boston, Mass. She was a dedicated teacher with strong empathy for her students. Ruth married Bart Jones in 1992. They moved to Oregon in 2004, where Ruth taught preschool until her retirement.

Woofie, as her family and friends called her, had a gift for friendship. She remained devoted to friends that she made in college and during her early years as a teacher. Following her move to Oregon, Ruth made twice-annual pilgrimages to New England to visit her dearest friends.

Ruth was devoted to family, including her many nieces and nephews. She wove baby blankets, found perfect Christmas presents, and at summer gatherings often came equipped with an age-appropriate project to delight the young.

Ruth became a member of Corvallis (Ore.) Meeting in March 2014. While serving on the Ministry and Oversight Committee, she took the lead in writing a pamphlet introducing Quakerism for visitors and new members and helped to write The History of Corvallis Monthly Meeting. She was a member of the Library Committee for many years, where she spearheaded major transformations of both the committee and the library. Friends found Ruth to be inspirational, diplomatic, and resourceful while dealing with these monumental tasks. Ruth wrote an article about this experience that was published in the November 2017 edition of Friends Journal. Her love of learning about Quakers led Ruth to create a card game called Famous Quakers Memory Game.

Ruth was involved with Re-evaluation Counseling, a process where participants learn how to exchange effective help with each other to free themselves from the effects of past distressing experiences. She is remembered as a caring, capable, and dedicated teacher and co-counselor. Ruth became involved with the Mid-Valley Hearing Loss Association as her own hearing deteriorated. She volunteered at Room at the Inn, the local overnight shelter for homeless women, and with Health Care for All Oregon, which promotes universal healthcare.

Ruth enjoyed basketry and both admired and wove textiles. She was fascinated by words, which she read in abundance and spoke and wrote with precision. She delighted in visiting museums and archeological sites.

Ruth battled cancer off and on beginning in 1989. She was determined not to allow cancer to define her. At one point Ruth was told that people with her diagnosis typically had a life expectancy of two to three years. Her response was to take a trip to Peru, where she saw its wonderful textiles, archeological sites, and museums. Ruth outlived that grim medical forecast by 20 years.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Bart Jones; two brothers, John Robert McNeill (Julia Alexanra Billingsley) and Andrew Duncan McNeill; a sister, Deborah Joan McNeill (Gregory Alexander Van Koughnett); and 11 nieces and nephews.

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