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School board releases statement on the passing of Kathy Ruthruff

May 28, 2020

Gresham-Barlow School Board releases statement on the passing of former board member Kathy Ruthruff


The Gresham-Barlow School District has learned that former board member Katherine J. Ruthruff passed away on Monday, May 25.

 The Gresham-Barlow School Board is grieved to hear of the passing of our long-time colleague and friend, Kathy Ruthruff.

 “Kathy was a consummate public servant during her 25 years of service on the school board,” said Chair Blake Petersen. “Her legacy is well-intact in our community's schools: from Deep-Creek Damascus K-8, where she established the original after school program and volunteered for so many years, to the Center for Advanced Learning, an innovative charter school that she championed from start to finish, to the brand new and revitalized buildings from the school bond for which she so advocated.”

“Kathy was on the Gresham-Barlow Board when I first joined, nearly 20 years ago, said Board member Kris Howatt. “Her support and guidance provided me plenty of leadership opportunities, locally and statewide.”

Howatt added, “Early on, her philosophy around board service was clear; how will our decisions make a difference for all students, not just a few. She was also ahead of her time in asking for increased counseling support for our students. During her service, she encouraged board development and training, so we would know what was out there and what were the trends. She was proud of the Gresham-Barlow board and loved the community. Kathy used to say, ‘They’re only in 3rd grade for one year – what are we doing for them today.’ I will miss her.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy's husband, Ron, who so faithfully supported her service, as well as her children, grandchildren, and all of those who were touched by Kathy's life.

Kathy Ruthruff served on the Gresham-Barlow School Board between 1994 and 2018. She served as board chair twice. Prior to serving on the school board, she served on the school district’s Budget Committee.

She was a life-long Oregonian and had lived in Damascus since 1975 on property her family homesteaded.

Ms. Ruthruff’s family will hold a private ceremony with a public memorial planned to take place later in the summer.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation in Kathy’s name.