[Fcs-grad] Barbara Brown's Mother

Sandy M Stark sandy.stark at fcs.utah.edu
Thu Apr 5 16:54:21 MDT 2012

Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2012 4:24 PM
To: Sandy M Stark
Cc: Bill Hanewinkel
Subject: My mom's death


My mom died on Tuesday-I just wanted to let the department know.  I have pasted below an edited version of the remembrance Bill wrote for her that night.


Barb's Mom, Ruth, passed away Tuesday April 3rd about 3PM surrounded by her family. This was sudden.  She had turned 90 last August and had been showing courage in recovering from major stomach surgery performed last

October.  She was making good progress.  Bill found her unconscious

in her bedroom, laying in her chair where she could see the Gold Finches

at the window feeder.  It was a beautiful spring day in Salt Lake City.  She was wearing her favorite red & black printed "I love my dog" flannel pajamas.

Ruth Miller Brown was born in rural South Dakota on August 21st, 1921.

She joined the Army in WWII, trained as a RN and commissioned as an Army

officer serving in hospitals north of London during the war.  Her service left her disabled with tuberculosis and she spent the remainder of the war in

a Denver hospital recovering.  After the war, she married William Brown,

and raised William and Barbara, living most of her adult life in

Richmond, VA.  She continued being a nurse for hospitals and nursing

homes until her retirement.  Ruth was devoted to her husband Will caring for him until his death in 1988.

Although shy, she was a true friend and stood her ground with her Girl Scouts. She helped to integrate a troop in Virginia during the racial tensions of the 1960's, much to the displeasure of the local KKK.

She only obtained a driver license after age 50 and then there was no stopping her. She bought a camper truck and hit the road bird watching and camping, often solo, in state parks, military grounds, and Walmart parking lots, much to the horror of her daughter. She helped many seasons on the eastern seaboard netting and

banding migrating birds.  Ruth was known by her bird banders as the "Hawk Lady" because she was one of few who could bravely pull hawks with sharp talons and bills from the mist nets. Her restlessness to travel continued into her elderly years when she could no longer go solo.

She moved to Utah in 1989.  She spent many a winter season in southern Arizona and came to live with Barbara and Bill Hanewinkel in 1994 at our shared Dover house.  We enjoyed a lot of laughs, Tuesday evening dinners, many well loved dogs, and it was a privilege to both live with and care for her.

In her later years Ruth worked daily playing Scrabble on her laptop computer.  She openly shared her love of dogs to Snoopy, Flossy, Rascal(18 years), Winnie (18 years) and finally Missy, her blind companion that she kept alive with insulin shots twice a day.  Ruth was very good at dog training.

She was never shy about experimenting with her microwave ovens.  (Who would have even considered that peat moss would catch fire while sterilizing it for house plants?)

Although Ruth wanted to donate her body to the University of Utah medical center, they said she had too many health problems (!).  Therefore, we move to Plan B, which is to scatter her ashes in the woods in the mountains come summertime.

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