Dear UUCPA folks,
I write again with news of another loss of a dear person. Yesterday, Ruth Hammett passed away peacefully, at her home, with Ben, her best friend and husband of over 63 years, holding her hand. The last sounds in her ears were loving words from him and their daughter.
She and Ben made a fine team as parents of their four children, intellectual companions (Ruth had a master’s degree in biology from Stanford), philanthropists, and activists–and, of course, as members of UUCPA.
Although she demurred at the phrase “changing the world” to describe her volunteering, it is beyond question that Ruth changed many lives through her work with Adolescent Counseling Services here in Palo Alto and, during their Richmond, VA, years, co-founding a racially integrated school as an alternative to the de facto segregation that still kept African American children at a disadvantage. That is to name just two of her volunteer commitments.
At church, she was often found in the bookstore, connecting with other avid readers and seekers. Hershey Julian was a dear friend who, before his own passing, would bring a book by the house on his bicycle and stay chatting about books and ideas over coffee with Ruth. Even when she began to suffer dementia, she was an attentive and expressive conversation partner.
Everyone who had the pleasure of talking with Ruth knew themselves to be in the company of a very gentle, kind and generous person with an incisive mind. I was so sad when they moved to Santa Barbara, and so happy when they returned the next year.
I will miss her very much, and my heart is with Ben during this inestimable loss. I hope you will join me in sending condolences to Ben (listed in the UUCPA directory) and their children and grandchildren.
Ben Hammett and his family had a very small, family-only memorial gathering for Ruth, given the constraints of COVID-19, on September 24th.