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Ruth Elaine Harritt Starnes
Obituary for
Ruth Elaine Harritt Starnes
Submitted by: Bob Chada

© The Guthrie News Leader
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ruth Elaine Harritt was born April 30, 1914 and died December 18, 2006. Seventh child and second daughter of Olie Green and Mary Timmie (Bates) Harritt; born at her parents' Blaine County farm home northeast of Watonga, Oklahoma; married 6 July, 1944 at Watonga to Richard Lloyd Starnes (B. 9 Aug. 1914) at Davis in Murray County, Oklahoma, son of Mary Paralee Sanders and James Richard Starnes.
Ruth attended the district rural school located one and one-half miles from her parents home, graduated from the Watonga High School in 1931. ShHe majored in elementary education at Oklahoma A & M College at Stillwater, Oklahoma. After obtaining a five-year state teaching certificate she was employed to teach the Arapho rural school near Okeene in Blaine County. Her second teaching position was at the Bridgeford School where she had attended the elementary grades as a child. During these first years of teaching, Ruth attended summer school at Stillwater, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1939. Her teaching career of twenty-seven years included positions in Garvin County, Duncan, and Ponca City, Oklahoma. While teaching in Ponca City, Ruth atteneded school at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater where she obtained a Master of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 1964. During this time she served on a steering committee which organized a Reading Council in North Central Oklahoma, and later was elected president of that organization.
During the latter part of World War II, Ruth and Lloyd were married and their first home was in Portland, Oregon, where Lloyd was stationed until the end of the war. Ruth worked as a Social Worker with the State Welfare Department while living in Portland, and also in Woods County at Alva when they returned to Oklahoma. They lived in Alva for five years before moving to Ponca City. While living in Alva, two daughters were born prematurely and are buried in the cemetery at the west edge of the city.
While teaching in Ponca City, Ruth was elected to Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for outstanding women educators. She has served as president of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of the sorority and remained a member during her retirment.
After retiring from the teaching profession in 1976, Ruth took classes in genealogy and has done genealogical research in the National Archives and Library of Congress in Washington, D. C., the Church of the Latter Day Saints Library in Salt Lake City, and many other libraries in various parts of the country. She was a member of the Pioneer Genealogical Society, and had served as vice-president and assistant editor of the society's newsletter.
At the age of twelve, Ruth joined the Christian Church in Watonga and has transferred her membership to that denomination wherever she resided. She and her husband are active members of the First Christian Church of Ponca City where she has served as a deaconess, and president of the Christian Women's Fellowship Guild.
Ruth enjoyed reading, genealogy, playing golf and listening to classical music.
An autobiography by Ruth (Harritt) Starnes
16 June 1984
She was preceded in death by her husband Lloyd on Nov. 24, 2006; her parents; three brothers: Charles, Glen and Burton Harritt; one nephew Judge Neal Mertz; and one sister Elma Went Fugua. She is survived by one sister Mary Olive Mertz of San Antonio, Texas; five nieces: Glenda Flury and Harriet Morgan both of Guthrie, Okla., Tamara Harritt of Fresno, Calif, Janet Mertz of San Antonio, Texas, Donna Gold of Apple Valley, Calif.; one sister-in-law Thelma Lowther of Lahabra, California; three nephews: Dr. Garey Harritt of Guthrie, Dr. Paul Mertz of Stevens Pointe, Wis., and Bob Lowther of Hesperia, Calif.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the First Christian Church, 210 N. 5th St., Ponca City, OK 74601 and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation at 825 NE 13th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73104.
Viewing will take place at 9 a.m. at the First Christian Church in Ponca City, Friday, December 22, with services following at 11 a.m. under the direction of Cummunity Funeral Home.

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