Ruth Louise Bull Demuth died peacefully at home on Dec. 27, 2013, at the age of 82, from Alzheimer’s disease and its associated complications. She spent the past several years being cared for by Thomas Alfred Sandford, her loving husband of 33 years, and many of her children, grandchildren, friends and caregivers. Ruth was born in Los Angeles, Calif. on May 30, 1931, to Verena Elizabeth Miescher Bull and Howard Walworth Bull. She was preceded in death by her mother, father and brother, Richard Fredrick Bull. She is survived by her husband Tom; daughters Katherine Alison Demuth (Mark Johnson), Kimberly Verena Demuth (Fred Glick) and Mary Demuth Sandoval (Anthony); son Hal Pierce Demuth II (Monette); 29 grandchildren and step-grandchildren; two great-grandchildren and many cousins and nieces.
Ruth grew up in and attended school in southern California, southern Arizona, Michigan and northern California. She played several instruments, including the piano and violin, and she graduated as valedictorian from Red Bluff High School. Starting in 1949, she worked summers at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and attended Chico State University, Calif., before marrying Howard B. Demuth in February 1951 and moving to Los Alamos. As a single mother in the early ‘70s, she returned to work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory at the Meson Physics Facility and simultaneously earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico. She attained the status of staff member and worked in Groups T-3, G-5 and EES-5. She was fortunate to have Francis Harlow as her mentor early in her laboratory career and as a friend for life. Ruth was an effective manager and mentor, and a terrific communicator with her coworkers, friends and family members. She was a strong advocate for the right to equality for women in society, the work force and especially in education. She was a member of LANL’s Women in Science Program from its beginning, and she was a member of the Humanities Council, and on the board of the Los Alamos Family Council.
Ruth loved music of all types. Classical music was her favorite and she delighted in attending and participating in musical presentations all the while she lived in Los Alamos. She continued to play piano all her life and was a member of the Los Alamos Choral Society. She was an accomplished seamstress and a prolific knitter, providing many family members with sweaters and afghans. Ruth loved the outdoors. She enjoyed her women’s hiking group and skiing, and became the family’s wildflower expert. Ruth taught Tom to ski, and together they also enjoyed dancing, playing bridge and being with family and friends. She enjoyed gardening, especially loved raising flowers that she and Tom spent many hours working on in their yards and gardens. Ruth and Tom traveled to many parts of the world, and used their cabin and ranch in Colorado as retreats for rest, relaxation, renewal and for gatherings with friends and family.
Ruth loved her family and friends, and she amassed a huge collection of family photographs that tell the story of her life and that continue to delight family members. She avidly compiled the genealogical history of her family, becoming the family’s historian. She also had a lifelong passion for working jigsaw puzzles; one was always in process on the card table in her home. Ruth was a fierce supporter of her children and grandchildren’s development. She prepared tea parties for her young grandchildren, and took them to Santa Fe youth operas after explaining the plot and music beforehand; as teens, her daughters all ushered at the opera.
Ruth will be missed. Her blue eyes and quick smile will always be treasured.
Ruth and her family were fortunate and are thankful for the many caring providers that attended to her in Los Alamos and the Pagosa Springs area.
Cremation will take place at De Vargas Funeral Home and Crematory, Espanola, N.M. A memorial service celebrating Ruth’s life will be held on Friday, Jan. 10, at 1 p.m. at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 1738 North Sage St., Los Alamos, N.M. In her memory, the family asks that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, (800) 272-3900 or to the Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service Hospice House. Also, a plant or flower can be planted in her memory.