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Obituary: Ruth Steed Walker

1910 ~ 2004

Ruth Steed Walker, devoted daughter, accomplished vocalist, generous philanthropist, respected professional, and good friend, died from the complications of old age on October 22, 2004. A broken hip hastened the course set for her by congestive heart failure, but she died peacefully and in her sleep. Until the very end, she continued to display her lifelong traits of wit, wisdom, and charm. She was as popular with her caregivers as she was with her family, co-workers, and friends.

Ruth was born on September 17, 1910, in Salt Lake City, but spent much of her childhood in Farmington. Her father, Lorenzo Walker, died while she was an infant. Her mother, Ann Elizabeth Steed Walker, remained a widow for the rest of her life. She raised Ruth and her siblings, in the face of many obstacles, through hard work and determination. Ruth returned the favor, caring for her beloved mother until her death in 1969. Ruth was also preceded in death by three brothers who died at birth and by her brothers, Lorenzo Steed Walker and Marion Steed Walker, and her sisters, Cleone Steed Walker Ostler Langley and Annette Steed Walker Orme.

Ruth graduated from LDS High School; studied vocal music, including with Emma Lucy Gates Bowen; and studied nursing at LDS Hospital before settling on a career in cost accounting with Utah Oil Company and its successors, including AMOCO. She proudly recounted being asked to check, through manual calculations, the accuracy of computers in the earliest days of the electronic age--and finding any number of errors. She was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for many years and continued her lifelong appreciation of music through affiliation with the Opera Appreciation Club and Alpha Dorian. In her youth, her agility and height combined to make her an outstanding basketball player.

In retirement, Ruth took up golf, and played until the effects of glaucoma and macular degeneration made it impossible for her to play. These conditions led her to the University of Utah's Moran Eye Institute, whose mission she supported both financially and through participation as a support group mentor and role model for those who become visually impaired later in life. As a substantial supporter of the University, she was a member of the John Park Society.

Ruth lived for many years on Roosevelt Avenue, keeping her own yard and garden--and shoveling her own driveway and sidewalks--until well into her eighties. In later years, she lived at Parklane, then Parklane Manor, and finally at The Residence of Care Source.

Ruth is survived by a large circle of friends, old and new, as well as by a dwindling number of cousins and an ever-growing network of nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, great-great-nieces and nephews, and great-great-great-nieces and nephews.

Those wishing to honor Ruth are asked to consider contributions in her memory either to the Humane Society of Utah or the Ruth S. Walker and Ann Elizabeth Steed Walker Ophthalmology Endowment Fund, Moran Eye Center, University of Utah. Services will be held at a later date.