Ruth Calkins

Ruth Calkins



Ruth CalkinsRuth Calkins 1/31/27 to 2 /15/2020

She was born in Brooklyn New York on 1/31/1927, living through the Great Depression as a child. She attended Douglass college in NJ, majoring in history. She waitressed her way through college, and met Martin Hutchinson who was a student at Rutgers.

She married Martin on June 4, 1949. After he finished his PhD in Entomology, they moved to Sri Lanka for his job with the State Department, and subsequently to Nigeria and then back to Washington DC. She had a wild side. Once in Nigeria when a party seemed dull she jumped into the swimming pool in her clothes to liven up the atmosphere (everyone jumped in after her!). She had an amazing memory and wrote several autobiographical books and articles about growing up and living during the Great Depression.

Her second eldest child, Alan, was born with cerebral palsy. She taught Alan to feed himself, and home schooled him for several years. She created fancy birthday cakes for her kids shaped like cats with coconut fur and other fanciful creations.

She moved back to the Washington DC with Martin in 1971. After he died she went back to school and earned a masters degree in Music Composition, setting several Emily Dickenson poems to music. She married Don Calkins in 1977, and they had a small farm in West Virginia were they raised most of their own food. From there, they moved to Arizona, and finally to Newport Wa.

In the 1990’s she became concerned with all of the AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, and became involved with a clinic in Malawi that provides anti retroviral drugs to the orphans and general health care to children in surrounding villages. She visited the clinic in Malawi, Africa several times, and started a project to provide the caregivers with sewing skills. She and a friend stayed in the clinic compound for a summer, teaching women to sew on 6 treadle sewing machines that she provided.

She loved Newport, playing piano for her church and the local theatre company. In her last years she wrote children’s books featuring her beloved dog Max.

She died of congestive heart failure on 2/15/2020. She is survived by her children Janice, Barbara, Linda and John, and grandchildren. Laura, Jamie and Justin.

A memorial service will be held at the Newport United Church of Christ, but because of the virus outbreak the date is still to be decided. We hope to be able to see all of you there and that you will be well.

Sherman-Campbell Funeral and Cremation Services in Newport is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guest book at