In Memory of Ruth Carwithen Satterthwaite ’65

RUTH CARWITHEN SATTERTHWAITE ’65 of Palo Alto, California, died July
19, 2021. At Ripon, she majored in English and music, participated in music and student government, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She worked for the publisher Houghton Mifflin in Boston and Palo Alto. She was a frequent parent volunteer and substitute librarian in local schools. She was also a prominent participant in Palo Alto’s emergency response program, earning her amateur radio license and donating many hours. She also organized and moderated an early neighborhood news group and was a talented musician, writer, editor and genealogist. She participated in many musical groups and choirs and had a special interest in early vocal music. Survivors include her husband Ed; and two sons.

Full obituary:

Ruth C. Satterthwaite, a resident of Palo Alto for 50 years, died peacefully at home on July 19 of pancreatic cancer. Ruth was 78 years old. To her family, Ruth was a loving, loyal and dedicated
wife and mother. As a mother, Ruth not only unconditionally supported her sons in their academic pursuits and hobbies but immersed herself in them, inspiring in her children a sense of confidence and community. Among her friends, she was known for her cheery disposition, lilting speech and pixie sense of humor.

Ruth was also a talented musician, writer, editor, and genealogist. She was born in Doylestown, PA, to Walter M. Carwithen Jr. and Ruth Leech Carwithen. Ruth attended Ripon College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1965 with degrees in English and music. After college, she worked in Boston for the publisher Houghton Mifflin. Ruth married Edwin H. Satterthwaite, Jr. in 1966. They moved to Palo Alto, where Ed was pursuing a PhD at Stanford. In 1971-72, they lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, where Ed taught at the university. That experience cemented Ruth’s life-long interest in British history and in her own family roots in the Devon-Cornwall area.

Ruth and Ed subsequently returned to Palo Alto and have lived there essentially ever since. In addition to raising two sons, Rob and Will, Ruth became the consummate community volunteer. She was a frequent parent volunteer and occasional substitute librarian in the Palo Alto school system, for which she received several special recognition awards. She was also active in the PTAs. Ruth later became a leader in the city’s Community Emergency Response Team, earning her amateur radio license and donating many hours. For such service, she received further community recognition including a Mick McDonald Volunteer of the Year award in 2007. Ruth also organized and moderated an early neighborhood news group. Ruth ardently pursued her passions for music and genealogy. In addition to joining several musical groups and choirs, she sang for fifty years with a group of friends who gathered weekly to read and enjoy early music. She also gained a reputation as an expert amateur genealogist and became active in the San Mateo County Genealogy Society as well as a writing group and several writing collaborations.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Ed, her brother Thomas, her two sons, Robert (Elizabeth) and William, and two grandchildren, Ella and Conner. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to a favorite charity in honor of Ruth.