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Ruth Vivian Pocock

1922 - 2012, Santa Barbara

October 13, 1922 - August 26, 2012

Ruth Vivian Pocock passed away August 26, 2012. She is survived by her sisters, Alice Irene Way Kuhn, Edith Joy Way Ormsby, Clara Jane Way Bowen and Anna Iona Way Alber, and by many nieces, nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews. She was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Peter Gould Pocock, her parents, and her brother Clarence Edgar Wiebusch.

Ruth was born October 13, 1922 to Alfred Way and Lola Swyhart Wiebusch Way, in a rural farmhouse in Pittsford, Michigan. She grew up Pittsford and was a member of the first graduating class of the new Pittsford Rural Agricultural School in 1940. She then enrolled as a freshman at Wayne State University.

Her education was interrupted by World War II. She left Wayne State to work in a war industry factory in Detroit for a time, then enlisted in the Navy in July 1945 and served as a WAVE at Great Lakes Naval Base in Chicago, Illinois, in the medical section.

After the war ended she returned to finish her degree in home economics at Wayne State University in Detroit. While at Wayne State, Ruth met a brilliant young returning war veteran, Peter Pocock. They married in December 20, 1947, and soon thereafter moved to Ann Arbor, where Peter pursued his education while Ruth found employment as a dietician in the test kitchens of Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. In their ‘spare time’, Ruth and Peter built a house with their own hands.

Following moves to Seattle and Riverside, Peter’s career brought the couple to Santa Barbara in 1958, where they found a permanent home. Ruth continued her education at USCB, earned a master’s degree in education and her teaching credential, and began her teaching career.

In March 1965, Ruth’s minister gave a sermon about the situation in Selma, Alabama. Ruth and Peter decided to join the third march from Selma to Montgomery. It was a frustrating and exhausting, yet exhilarating experience—her journal of the trip attests to this.

Ruth taught grade school at the Monte Vista Elementary School in Santa Barbara for over 20 years. Following her retirement from Monte Vista, she lived and taught at the Shonto Preparatory Technology High School on the Navajo reservation in Shonto, Arizona for a year.

Ruth and Peter were theater aficionados with a particular love for the works of Shakespeare. They attended the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival together at least once a year for over 20 years. Also, Ruth traveled twice to England to participate in Dr. Homer Swander’s month-long Theater in England course focused on Shakespeare and, in 1995, Ruth toured China with a group from the Live Oak Unitarian-Universalist Congregation.

Ruth was a talented watercolor and sketch artist and a maker of whimsical and artful necklaces. She loved classical music but appreciated all music and served as an usher at many musical as well as theatrical events in Santa Barbara. The home she made with Peter on Canon drive was the center of many happy events for 35 years.

Ruth was a direct and plainspoken person who had an unabridged dictionary on a pedestal in her living room. She was an inveterate hugger, held a resolute belief in participatory citizenship, and worked for the unbridled propagation of good will in our world. Her teaching helped form many successful and happy lives; it was not unusual for former students to emerge years later to thank Ruth for having been a positive influence. All of us who knew her feel the same.

Donations in memory of Ruth Pocock may be made to Camerata Pacifica or to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 17 at 2pm at the Unitarian-Universalist Society of Santa Barbara.

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