On May 10, 2022, our beloved mother, aunt, friend, and teacher met her Savior face to face. Ruth Charlene Howell was born in Hillsboro, Ore. on April 20, 1934. She was the youngest of two daughters born to Charles and May Underdahl Nichols.
Ruth was born in the heart of the depression. During her childhood the family moved frequently because of her father’s cement finishing trade. Having to change schools so often gave Ruth an appreciation for education and a home to call her own.
The family finally settled in west Eugene during Ruth’s sophomore year of high school. She graduated from Willamette High School in 1952 and then attended Oregon College of Education in Monmouth, obtaining her degree in 1956.
During her years at Monmouth, she worked in the summers for the forest service as a fire lookout at Frailey Mountain in Washington. Her second summer there she met her husband-to-be, Blair. He was working as a road grader and would often bring groceries and water to the lookout. They were married in February, 1958.
Her first teaching position was in Earlimart, Calif. The couple moved to the Happy Jack logging camp in Arizona, where their first child, Charles Brian, was born. In 1960 they moved back to Eugene and built a home in the Santa Clara area. Two daughters were born there, Nona Alice and Laura Mary.
Ruth continued teaching, first at Fall Creek Elementary and then at Lowell Elementary, for 40 years. Early in her career, Ruth and Blair moved to Fall Creek, where they built a home and were active members at Fall Creek Christian Church.
After retirement Ruth moved to Las Vegas, then to California, and finally back to Oregon where she lived for the last 6 years.
Wherever she resided, she loved attending church, gardening, playing card games, and hosting parties with family and friends. She was an eager traveler and visited most of the 50 states, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. Duck football games and reading the Sunday obituaries were things that she looked forward to.
The name Ruth means compassionate friend, and she was always ready to make new friends, listen, give advice, and share interesting and entertaining stories. While her cancer diagnosis was difficult news, she was full of faith, reassuring family and friends of her firm belief that “the best is yet to come.” She looked forward to being with Jesus in heaven, her forever home, where she hoped she would be able to carry a tune and maybe even fly.
Ruth is preceded in death by her parents, Charles and May Nichols, her husband, Blair, and her sister Alice Lassen. She is survived by her children, Charles (Candace) of Myrtle Point, Nona Taylor of Las Vegas, Nev., and Laura (Ekkehard) Rohwedder of Newark, Calif., as well as seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and seven nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her close, longtime friend Keith (Valerie) Davis of Pleasant Hill and her stepdaughter Sally (Terry) Burnham of Vancouver, Wash.
A service was held on Saturday, April 14 at Garden Way Church, 231 N. Garden Way, Eugene, OR 97401.