Ruth F. Van Meter

Ruth F. Van Meter, an executive for the International YWCA who ran programs in 15 countries and established chapters of the association abroad, died of chronic lung disease Monday in a Portland care center. She was 81.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. May 5 in the First United Methodist Church of Portland.

After she attended a gym class at the Portland Young Women's Christian Association during World War II, she was asked to serve on a special war service committee. Shortly thereafter, she became a professional executive for the YWCA.

Ms. Van Meter served as an executive director for the young women's association in California, Utah and Hawaii before being tapped to run programs overseas.

She went on to run programs in 15 countries and establish chapters in five countries. Ms. Van Meter wrote technical manuals in Spanish for the YWCAs she established in Latin America.

After returning to Portland in 1973, she did volunteer work for the YWCA in Tijuana, Mexico, and served as a board and committee member for the Portland YWCA.

Equally active in the First United Methodist Church, which she joined in 1930, Ms. Van Meter taught Sunday school classes and taught in the School of Missions in Caldwell, Idaho, and Eugene. She served as a church appointee on the Committee on the Episcopacy for the* Oregon- Idaho Conference.

Ms. Van Meter received many honors and distinctions and was a charter and Gold Card member of the National Association of Social Work. She had received the patriarchal blessing of Archbishop Athenagoras, patriarchal head of the Greek Orthodox Church, and received an award from the United Service Organization for helping to establish a USO club in Istanbul, Turkey.

She had been listed in Who's Who of Women in the World, Who's Who of American Women and the National Register of Prominent Americans and International Notables.

In 1987, Ms. Van Meter was presented with the YWCA Founder's Award and recognized by the Portland YWCA as one of 13 women of achievement.

She was a life member of the YWCA of Portland and belonged to the World Affairs Council of Oregon and the Oregon chapter of the United Nations. Ms. Van Meter donated many of her documents to Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

She was born Feb. 6, 1911, in Moscow, Idaho. She moved to Portland in 1922 and graduated from Highland Grade School and Jefferson High School. She later was named to the Hall of Fame of Alumni of Jefferson.

Ms. Van Meter earned her bachelor's degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky., and became an accredited social worker through graduate studies at the University of Southern California and Columbia University. She received a Fulbright teaching fellowship in Athens, Greece.

Before she became associated with the YWCA, Ms. Van Meter held several positions in the Portland area. She had been a clerk in the office of the Western Pacific and the Santa Fe railroads and was an office manager and secretary for the Department of Mines and Geology for the state of Oregon.

Survivors include her brother, William of Deltona, Fla.

Disposition was by cremation.

The family suggests that remembrances be contributions to the endowment funds of the First United Methodist Church in Portland or the Young Women's Christian Association.

From: The Oregonian - Portland, Oregon.  April 23, 1992.


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