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Ruth Wilhelmina Spoerli Spoerli-Herman ’38

A picture of Ruth Spoerli-Herman

Ruth Wilhelmina Spoerli-Herman ’38, May 4, 2010, in Portland. Ruth was born in Portland, the daughter of Swiss emigrants. Her father was a wood craftsman who made furniture; Ruth attended Reed as a day-dodger, earning a BA in sociology. She then pursued a career in social work. During World War II, she was employed as a medical social worker with the American Red Cross, serving in military hospitals in the Pacific. In 1949, she earned an MA in social work from Case Western Reserve University. Two years later, she joined the staff of the crippled children's division at the University of Oregon Medical School (now Oregon Health & Science University); she retired as chief of the OHSU social work unit in 1986. At the age of 72, Ruth married Jack Herman; it was her first marriage. “My life has not been all work,” she wrote in retirement. “I have been able to travel worldwide as a bird watcher, skier, and tourist, as well as enjoying gardening and growing roses.” She and Ruth Wetterborg Sandvik ’38 maintained their college friendship, visiting one another and traveling together. She also enjoyed keeping up with Beth Tabor Mullady ’38 and Ellen Knowlton Johnson ’39, and was an active member in the Foster-Scholz Club. Ruth's three stepsons survive her. Her husband died in 1993.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2011

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