Ruth Long Beyer
Ruth Long Beyer
June 8, 1924 - November 17, 2019
Ruth Long Beyer was born on June 8, 1924 in Springfield, Ohio. Services under the direction of Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home will be held at 2:00 p.m. December7th, at First Christian Church in Wichita Falls.
Ruth’s mother, Winifred, had come from a coal mining family in West Virginia. Her father, John, served in the United States Army. Her father died of heart disease when Ruth was the young age of 6, during the opening months of the great depression. Her mother cared her best for Ruth and her sister Deannie Long, but the challenges of the depression were too much for a single mom of limited means.
When Ruth was 14, and her younger sister was 10, they were taken to an amazing, loving orphanage in Xenia, Ohio, the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphanage, for which they were eligible due to their father’s military service. At “The Home” she instantly had a few hundred siblings, which she without hesitation called her brothers and sisters for the rest of her life. Many of the young men who graduated with Ruth in 1942 instantly signed up for active duty in the Army and went abroad to fight the Nazis. Many never returned.
While in the home, Ruth began a friendship with a Mary Kay Impson, who was one of 5 in her family to receive their parenting at the Home. Though Mary Kay, who has been Aunt Impy to all of us since we can remember, was 3 years her junior, they began a friendship after Ruth graduated, and remained best friends for the rest of their lives. Aunt Impy lives in Dayton, Ohio, and all of her children call Ruth Aunt Ruthie until this day. When she reads this, and whether or not she can be, she is with us all today.
Upon graduation, Ruth took her $50.42 allowance and headed to Athens, Ohio, where she enrolled at Ohio University. She worked part time as a hair dresser to supplement her expenses. As fate would have it, she enrolled in Freshman Botany, and the young man teaching her labs was one Arthur Frederick Beyer, then an undergraduate student working on his degree in paleo botany. As things sometimes go in college, a life-long scandal erupted. Upon taking her first test, she received a grade of 86. Young Art Beyer, with his eye on things other than grades, changed her grade to a 68, and promptly called Ruth and offered to take her to the library to help her with her studies. The lie worked. They dated for the next year and were married on September 18, 1943 at the chapel located at the entrance of the Home. Their best man was Dr. Art Blickel, Art Beyer’s mentor and professor, who never found it in him to change the grade back to an 86. Mom suffered that life-long blemish on her academic record and was sentenced to 56+ more years of botanical tutoring, much of which occurred in her backyard here in Wichita Falls.
Ruth was an active mom, like many other moms here in Wichita Falls. She made graduation robes for the Kindergarten ceremony for her sons Brad and Bryan. She was a Sunday school teacher for such notables ad Greg Abbot and countless other area kids. She was a church youth group sponsor, PTA president, Cub Scout den mother, and a mom who was obligated to run from youth basketball games at the YMCA gym downstairs where her boys were competing in swim meets at the very same time. The “swimming mom” thing took a while to shake.
She was a member of PEO, a philanthropic organization, a founding sponsor of Sigma Kappa at Midwestern State University, a life time deaconess at First Christian Church, where she guided her family to sit in the same pew from December 9, 1959 when the first service was held in the church in its current location.
Though she had only two children, she and her husband actually had many, many kids whose lives they touched at Midwestern. Every Christmas holiday on December 26th the long list of former students rang the doorbell for Ruth and Doc’s holiday open house. No invitations were ever sent, but often the many, many folks who attended stayed and re-lived stories of their Midwestern days until the wee hours of the morning.
One of her children, coincidentally, became her Turkish daughter. A professor of economics at the University of Istanbul was participating in a professorial exchange program at Midwestern in the early 2000’s. She walked by the house on Milby every day on her way to and from her teaching assignments. She stopped once for a sandwich. Then again to help Ruth fill cracks in the driveway, and the friendship was ON. Zahide Ayyildiz Oneran visited in Ruth’s home many times and shared stories about her life and culture with Ruth. Ruth even got to visit Zahide in her home in Istanbul for a few weeks. Ruth loved Zahide in a way that was unexpected at that stage of life. Two grown women, from different cultures, sharing their personal stories that went to a level of a Mom and Daughter. It was rich all along the way. Inshallah, Zahide will carry those memories with her and share their stories with many along her path.
Once her boys were mostly through school, she began a wholly new career at McClurkan’s department store, which explained why she knew almost everyone she met in town for the rest of her life. When the years as an active MSU faculty member’s wife were combined with a woman that everyone ran into at McClurkan’s, the time required for an afternoon or evening out to dine was always extended by an unusual amount of time. There were no quick social outings with Ruth Beyer
Ruth lived a long and wonderful life. She would scold us all if she could sense tears today. She would want all to know that she lived a life that she loved, traveled everywhere, and did not miss out on anything. She would want you all to drive to Xenia, Ohio and see where her loving beginnings were rooted. In truth she will actually miss maybe one thing: she would rather be outside raking leaves and would consider that a better use of our collective time than this gathering. Good gosh, the woman could rake.
She was preceded in death by her father John and her mother Winifred, her sister Deannie; her son Bryan Arthur Beyer, and her husband Arthur Frederick Beyer.
Among those at her service will be the descendants of Art’s deceased brother Robert, whose wife Aunt Pat leads the clan. All those Missouri Beyers, who are from cities like Fulton, Liberty and Kansas City are with us either here or in spirit. Ruth is survived by her son, Brad, her grandson Brandon York Beyer and his wife Margaret Stokes Beyer, and by granddaughter Rebecca Denise Beyer and her wife Tiffany Chag of Boston MA; Echo Beyer, the mother of Brandon and Rebecca, and then……..wait for it: her princess of a great granddaughter Harper Kristen Beyer, who lives with her parents Brandon and Margaret in Hollywood, FL
In lieu of flowers, she would have preferred any remembrances to be directed to the Beyer / Abbot Scholarship at Midwestern University.