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Discussion: Ruth Johnson

in: Orienteering; News

Mar 10, 2020 11:17 PM # 
Sadly, I have to report that Ruth Johnson, long-time NEOC orienteer, died on Sunday, March 8 at age 87. Ruth lived her final years as a next-door neighbor to Suzanne and me in the retirement community of OceanView in Falmouth, Maine. Over the past several months she had little appetite and energy, but numerous doctors and medical tests could not find a cause. Ruth was born in Portland (Maine) but spent her career teaching physical eduction in the Boston area, not returning to Portland until 2000. She joined NEOC in the 1970s. From 1977 through 2013 she won an astounding 23 U.S. National Classic Championships, always in the oldest class at the time, starting with F43+ and ending with F80+! Her living room at OceanView was adorned with her many, many orienteering trophies. As her racing ability declined, she continued to "get out in the woods" through geocaching. Although generally a quiet introvert, Ruth volunteered for a variety of activities in her later years. She was a mainstay on the NEOC start team, especially for the chase start on day 2 of Troll Cups. In Portland, she greeted visitors at Maine Audubon's headquarters, assisted patients and families at a local medical facility, and led tours of a Portland lighthouse in the summer. At OceanView she helped me put on a number of O events for residents and was happiest when helping them learn the rudiments of reading an O map. She will be missed.
Mar 10, 2020 11:24 PM # 
Another sad day for US orienteering. I remember Ruth at many events over the years - always amazing how she continued to persevere. We can all hope to be able to enjoy our time in the woods for as many years as she did.
Mar 11, 2020 12:02 AM # 
Ruth was awesome. I was always glad to see her, and I'm very glad to have known her.
Mar 11, 2020 12:03 AM # 
Yes, another sad day. I agree, I would love to be able to run/hike/walk in the woods for as long as Ruth did.
Thanks Tony for the lovely memories.
Mar 11, 2020 1:10 AM # 
A fixture on the US orienteering scene for many years. Seldom went to a national meet that Ruth did not attend and win her class. Remember her being on the start crew at many Troll Cups.
Glad to hear that she had great friends like Suzzane and Tony nearby in her later years.
Mar 11, 2020 8:53 PM # 
I've always admired Ruth, what a strong, capable woman.
Mar 11, 2020 9:35 PM # 
Yes, she was competent, quiet and omnipresent when it came to orienteering. She was 'there in the beginning' with NEOC and nascent US orienteering. Now she's quietly gone. I think this poem would suit Ruth.
Mar 13, 2020 4:40 PM # 
Ruth was a wonderful person - consistently participating at our UNO local events over the last 20 years and always generous to offer her help.
Mar 15, 2020 4:08 PM # 
We have such wonderful memories of orienteering with Ruth in the woods. As others have said, she was quiet, but thoughtful and always willing to help out. Her spirit and love for orienteering was obvious and we will miss her.

This discussion thread is closed.