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Ruth Mary Cahill ’43

A picture of Ruth Cahill

Ruth Cahill ’43 and Esther Dorles Lewis ’42 in 2004.

Ruth Mary Cahill ’43, March 23, 2011, in Portland. The youngest of three sisters to graduate from Reed, following Kathleen Cahill Dougall ’37 and Doris Cahill Litchford ’40, Ruth earned her BA in biology from Reed and an MS from the University of Rochester. During World War II, she served in the Red Cross in England and Scotland, an experience that changed her focus “from fruit flies to people.” She returned to Oregon to became a social worker in Baker and Multnomah counties, and later served as an administrator in the state department of social services. She was proud of her role in the state foster care system, where she helped children achieve permanent adoption. Although Ruth lived most of her life in the northeast Portland home in which she was born, she enjoyed travel to faraway places-several times to Africa, and once on the mail boat to the Aleutian Islands. Ruth also was active in Reed's Foster-Scholz Club. Her devotion to calligraphy, learned from Lloyd Reynolds [English and art 1929-69], appeared in Christmas cards sent to her friends. Each card included a holiday poem she had composed and lettered. For the last six years of her life, longtime friend Esther Dorles Lewis ’42 managed her care. Ruth had two nieces and nephews, including Doris' son, George Litchford of Albany, New York, who was a regular visitor and was Ether's back-up for Ruth's care. We thank Esther for her help with this memorial.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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