Ruth Speer died December 11 at the age of 90. While primarily known to fandom through her spouse of 57 years, Jack, who died in 2008, she led a remarkable life in her own right.
Born in Nova Scotia, she grew up in Vermont and Maine. She served with the WAVES in World War II. A certified pilot who flew cargo planes, she assisted in searching for lost aircraft and become one of the first female air traffic controllers.
Her son, Ed, and daughter, Margaret Ann, both spoke at her funeral. Ed’s remarks offer a little window into his fannish upbringing —
Both my parents were gracious enough not to try to discourage me from doing things I really wanted to do. I’m sure Mom would have been much happier if I’d taken up tennis instead of medieval sword fighting, but she sewed my costume and helped me find a source of obsolete road signs for building my armor.
In addition to her son and daughter, Ruth is survived by her brother, Robert, and four grandchildren.
[Thanks to Patricia Rogers for the story.]