Ruth Blakely West

Published 5:51 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ruth Blakely West passed away peacefully on Nov. 3. She was born Feb. 19, 1922, in Seattle, Washington, the third child of Carl Louis Blakely and Mabel Christiansen Blakely. She graduated from Corvallis High School in 1940, and went on to study at Oregon State University and the University of Washington, where she graduated magna cum laude, earning a bachelor’s of science in home economics in 1944. From 1945-46 she served in the public health service. Ruth earned a master’s of science in nutrition and biochemistry from the University of Washington in 1946. She worked as a registered dietician, taught college level biochemistry and published several scientific papers relating to nutrition and hemoglobin levels in school age children. While working for the Florida State Health Department she met John Thomas West whom she married in 1948. Ruth was a devoted companion to her husband as he pursued his career in Nashville, Seattle, Detroit, Mobile, Bethesda, Anchorage, Phoenix, Lubbock and LaGrange. In 1979 they moved to Gabbettville on West Point Lake, where the two of them enjoyed entertaining, observing nature in the changing seasons and outside activities — swimming, golf and tennis. As enthusiastic dancers, they were part of the LaGrange Shufflers square dance club and the Scottish country dancing group. She never gave up her love of education, and aside from participating in book clubs, attended college classes at several of their stations. As a mother of six children, she was devoted, tender and modeled an unselfish concern for the feelings and needs of others. She encouraged her children to work hard at learning and had a keen sense of what each child needed and where their interests and talents lay. She was a willing worker, serving at the First Presbyterian Church soup kitchen, for the LaGrange Symphony, and for many years as a hospital volunteer. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, by an infant son, John, and by her husband. She will be missed by her children, Phyllis (John) Ernsberger, Rebecca (Dick) Okie, James West, Jeffrey (Deborah) West, Paul West; seven grand children; 17 great grand children; and several caregivers at Poplar Creek Senior Care and Twin Fountains Home, who provided excellent care and companionship for the last several years. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, where donations in her memory may be made.