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Ruth Kay Debs
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Birth: Aug. 25, 1910
Death: Dec. 6, 2010

Ruth Kay Debs passed away peacefully on December 6th, at the age of 100. She was a true liberal in the best sense of the word.

Ruth was born on August 25th, 1910 in St. Louis, Missouri to Mollie and Louis Kay, she attended Washington University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Chicago, where she graduated in 1932 with a degree in Psychology.

That year she married Jerry Debs and they were together for 64 years until his death in 1996. Ruth learned from her family and her community that those who were able had the responsibility and the privilege to help those who were less fortunate. She lived this life for many decades and was an active philanthropist at the age of 100.

Ruth and Jerry lived for 40 years in Chicago. During these years Ruth's involvement included Chair of the Chicago Chapter of the National Council Conference of Christians and Jews, Chair of the Joint Defense Appeal, and a board member of the Chicago Jewish Welfare Federation, the North Shore Music School, and the League of Women Voters.

Ruth and Jerry moved to San Francisco in 1974. She soon was involved in several civic organizations including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California Pacific Medical Center, the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee, the board of the SF Psychoanalytical Society, the endowment Committee of the Jewish Community Fund, and a board member of San Francisco Stanford Women's Club.

Jerry passed away in 1996 and Ruth had a triple bypass in 1999, but it was the 21st century when she truly hit her stride. Ruth moved to the San Francisco Towers and to help the Towers employees she set up a free loan fund. But her passion in this decade was public education in San Francisco. She endowed a scholarship fund at the City College of San Francisco and 350 students benefited from this fund. She read each application and when her eyesight failed her children read them to her. But Ruth was not satisfied just to write checks. She befriended Midge Wilson, Executive Director of the Bay Area Women's and Children Center in the Tenderloin. Ruth funded the school's dental clinic and now over 200 students receive free dental care from dentists provided by University of California, San Francisco.

While Ruth did not have children or grandchildren in the San Francisco public school system, she championed the local students' cause. She became involved in San Francisco public schools and became friends with Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman. Ruth worked with and lobbied members of the school board in support of the students. Ruth also liked to have fun.

Well into her 90's, she traveled to three annual meetings in Washington DC for National Public Radio, which she faithfully listened to every day. She loved the Arts and was a senior docent at MOMA. Ruth was a striking beauty, independent, always elegantly dressed, attending the opera, ballet and symphony well into her late 90's.

She was an eloquent public speaker, she stated her case, stood her ground and always did it with great style.

Ruth is survived by her three children Kay, John and Robert Debs and her daughter-in-law Catherine Debs, seven grandchildren Kathy Layendecker, Michael, Thomas, Susan and James Zaninovich, Ninna and Timothy Gaensler-Debs and seven great-grandchildren.

In her last decade she was incredibly well cared for by Sophie Domingo and Grace Gracia who truly loved her. The family will hold a memorial service for family and friends in January, 2011. The family encourages memorial donations to be made to the Foundation of City College, San Francisco. Janice Gow Pettey, administrator of the Foundation, can be reached at 415-452-5589 or 
Non-Cemetery Burial
Created by: Diane
Record added: Dec 19, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63064491
Ruth <i>Kay</i> Debs
Added by: Diane
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Rest in peace, Ruth.
- Diane
 Added: Dec. 19, 2010

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