Ruth Westervelt, 91, of Parsons, died at 11:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, at the Elmhaven West, where she had resided the past several years.
She was born Margaret Ruth Baxter on Dec. 3, 1919, in Indianapolis, Ind., to Roy Hiram and Lula Margaret (Horton) Baxter. She grew up and attended grade school and the Broad Ripple High School there. She worked for the D’Orsay Cravat Co. seven years and R.C.A. Manufacturing for two years.
On May 23, 1944, she enlisted in the women’s Army Air Corps for the duration and received basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. On July 6, 1944, she was assigned to Squadron W., March Field Army Air Force Base Unit, Riverside, Calif., and served in the Armament Ordnance section. She served 18 months and was honorably discharged Dec. 10, 1945, at Camp Beale, Calif.
She returned to Riverside, Calif., and married Jay C Westevelt on Dec. 23, 1945, at Inglewood, Calif. Her aunt and uncle, Mae and Gilbert Baxter, were their attendants. She attended Riverside Business College until Mr. Westervelt was discharged on April 6, 1946, when they returned to Columbus, his hometown.
They both enrolled at Pittsburg State Teachers College and lived in Pittsburg until the spring of 1948, when Mr. Westervelt graduated. They moved to Kansas City, Kan., and lived there from 1948 until 1955, when they moved to Parsons.
In Parsons, Mrs. Westervelt became active in the Garfield P.T.A. and later was president of the City P.T.A. She led two Brownie and Girl Scout Troops, served on the Women’s Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, was president of Church Women United and was a deacon on the board of the First Presbyterian Church. For several years, she taught Braille and dance to blind children. She was the office manager at the Jay C Westervelt C.P.A. firm, later Westervelt, Carson and Miller, until 1981. After that, she established the antique shop, Belmont Treasures, at 1721 Belmont until 1992 and was considered one of the leading experts in antique glass in the area. She designed a Parsons souvenir cup plate, and a Parsons souvenir stemmed glass. She was an avid quilter, designing and personalizing more than 50 quilts.
For more than 30 years, Mrs. Westervelt led church services for area-wide nursing homes and correctional institutions. She served on the local board of the American Red Cross and was named an honorary lifetime board member in 1996. In 1991, she was elected to the Parsons City Commission and served a two-year term.
In her youth, she was greatly interested in flying and earned her pilot’s license and flew private civilian aircraft for more than three years. Her first flight training was at the Hoosier (Indianapolis) Airport, and later at the Roscoe Turner School of Aeronautics, also in Indianapolis. She also studied ballet at the Indianapolis American School of Ballet, and danced at USO shows before she joined the Women’s Army Air Corps in 1944.
She was a life member of the American Legion and a life member of the International Order of St. Luke, the Physician. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Parsons.
Survivors include two daughters, Barbara Sundquist and her husband, Art, of Hutchinson and Anita Westervelt and her husband, Gene Morgan, of San Benito, Texas; three granddaughters, Sarah (Josh) Seachris of Winston-Salem, N.C., Erin Sundquist of Wichita and Molly Sundquist of Hutchinson; great-grandsons, William Josiah and Owen Jay Seachris; and nieces and nephews, Becky Baxter of Houston, Julia Klemos of Kalamazoo, Mich., Kristopher Klemos of Royal Oak, Mich., Mary Clark of Elk City, Okla., Bill Rhodes of Quinton, Okla., and Nancy McVay of Beaver, Okla.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jay C Westervelt, on July 31, 1988; her parents; her brother, David E. Baxter; and her sister, Beatrice Klemos.
The service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery in Parsons with military honors given by the Brown-Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Memorials are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church of Parsons. They may be left at or sent to the funeral home at P.O. Box 942, Parsons, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.wallfuneralservices.com.