Ruth Pearce, a resident of the Groves of Tustin for 3 years, has always held family, faith and volunteering as her main priorities. Raised on a farm in Evansville, Ind., Ruth is the third-oldest of seven children. She and all of her siblings have kept close ties throughout their lives despite living in many different states.
During WWII, Ruth worked in the office of an aviation company in Evansville. She married her husband, Ashby, in 1947, and gave birth to their daughter, Sherolyn, in 1948. In 1952, Ruth and Ashby moved to La Habra, Calif., and established a restaurant called Pearce’s BBQ, which they ran until 1963. For those 11 years, Ruth baked three or four pies for their restaurant six days a week. Ruth began volunteering at the school in the PTA and as a Girl Scout leader, and helped at the annual Corn Festival and at the Methodist church while working as a waitress at their restaurant. In the mid-1960s, Ruth began volunteering for the nonprofit group Help for Brain Injured Children (HBIC). She worked with the children, helped raised money and held the position of guild secretary in addition to her full-time job.
As a devoted and loving grandmother to Juleah and Greg, Ruth spent time with them at every chance possible. She cared for her grandchildren when they were infants, took care of them on weekends when they were in elementary school, and babysat them when daughter Sherolyn and her husband, Larry, went on vacation. She enjoyed holidays, including Halloween and Christmas Eve, with her daughter’s family for 38 years and spent countless hours attending her grandchildren’s swimming and water polo events. Ruth also has two adorable great granddaughters, Madelyn, who is 8, and Amy, who is 4. They live in Texas and see her once a year but send her drawings throughout the year.
Throughout the years, Ruth was an active member of the Emanuel Lutheran Church in La Habra. She belonged to the altar guild at church and Bible study, and was a trained member of the Stephen Ministry and the church board. For many years, Ruth organized and facilitated the Christmas giving tree at Emanuel Lutheran Church and helped sponsored 25 families with Christmas gifts and food often for families in need. She was also a member of the Food Cupboard, which feeds needy families. For many years, Ruth helped host homeless people for a week at the church, assisting them in getting jobs and housing. In May 2002, Emanuel Lutheran Church acknowledged Ruth with their prestigious FISH award for her years of volunteering to the community and church.
For many years, Ruth was a volunteer driver and board member for Meals on Wheels of La Habra. She held a part-time job as the office manager at the Meals on Wheels office until she retired at age 74 in 1998.
Ruth hosted many events for her Bunco group, Bible study and her Red Hat group in her sunroom. Ruth’s commitment to the Red Hat group led her to be the founding Queen Mother of her group, called the Red Ovations!
Ruth was also a member of the La Habra Library Friends of the Library (FOL) group. She was a board member and worked in the FOL bookstore, which raised money for the library. In her spare time, Ruth was also a volunteer every summer at the Orange County Fair.
In between all of her work and volunteer activities, Ruth traveled to many places in Europe, Africa Central America and Canada and throughout the United States. She traveled with two of her sisters and her friends.
Ruth was also an avid gardener who loved to grow flowers and herbs, and enjoyed her beloved orange trees, which bore fruit year-round.
After her retirement, Ruth went to Clown College at Whittier Presbyterian Hospital to train so that she could help entertain and brighten up the patients’ time in the hospital.
Ruth always tried to look on the bright side of every situation, and told everyone she met, “Have a Rainbow Day!”