Ruth E. Caldwell

Date of Birth

March 28, 1919

Date of Death

February 28, 2016

Ruth E Caldwell, noted Santa Barbara American Red Cross volunteer for many years in Water Safety Services and Aquatics specialist at Westmont College and Santa Barbara City College, passed away peacefully Feb 28, 2016.

She will be much missed and remembered by family, colleagues and many swimming and Lifeguard Training students from local camps and schools. She mentored many, some of whom still teach in the area, love her dearly and will carry on her education tradition.

Ruth was born March 28, 1919 in Berkeley, California and attended area schools, graduating in 1940 with a degree in Rhetoric and English Literature from UC Berkeley. She also enjoyed acting in local theater productions in the Bay Area. She married Norman H Caldwell the day before Pearl Harbor: Dec. 6, 1941 and traveled to follow him during World War II before settling in Santa Barbara after the war and building their family home in 1949. Both daughters, Margaret and Jean, were raised in Santa Barbara but now live in Ketchum, Idaho and Olympia, Washington, respectively.

Ruth loved swimming and water exercise, teaching until she was 94 years old. Her last classes were to a Braille Institute group. Colleagues from Westmont remember her as a natural teacher, loving her subject matter and tireless in her efforts to help others. She was tough but fair, with a good heart and a winning smile. For years she was a swimming official and helped at local swim meets as well as college competitions. She also taught Synchronized swimming and coached a group in the All City Shows in the 1970’s.

Ruth and Norman also traveled to see historical sites and snorkel in warm waters as well as to discover history around the West. Her daughters remember so many things, among them long family camping trips, musical theater at the Arlington, and trips to Los Angeles to see the Ice Capades.

She is now happily reunited with Norman, her husband of 72 years, who passed in 2013.

A memorial will be held later in the Spring at the family home for neighbors, family and friends.

Donations can be made to the American Red Cross.


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