Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Ruth Anderson: 1918-2023


Ruth Anderson, 104, died March 23 at her home in Naples, Florida. She was born July 25, 1918, in Boston to Rebecca (Rovit) Krock and Nathan Ralph Krock.

She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Boston Teachers College (now part of the University of Massachusetts).

After two years teaching math in the Boston school system, Ruth joined the newly formed M.I.T. Radiation Laboratory as a computation assistant for the numerical analysis of complicated equations associated with microwave-related radar development.

She was part of the Theory Group that included science luminaries Ming-Chen Wang and David Saxon. The Rad Lab's radar developments played a major role in the Allies' war effort in Europe.

When the lab closed in 1945, Ruth set off to the California desert for a job at the Naval Ordnance Test Station at China Lake. She was part of a dynamic team of young scientists, among them Lowell ("Andy") Anderson, a physicist from Cornell. Ruth and Andy married in 1947.

In 1950 Ruth and Andy moved to the Washington, D.C., area. He worked for the Office of Naval Research (and later for NASA), and she joined the National Bureau of Standards' Applied Mathematics group. Her work as a systems analyst focused on database design.

After their daughter, Karen, was born in 1954, Ruth returned to work part-time under an innovative job-sharing arrangement designed by her boss, computer pioneer Ethel Marden. The family spent summers on Cape Cod.

In 1974 Andy and Ruth retired to East Sandwich, Massachusetts. Ruth then launched a second career as an information systems consultant for clients that included the Massachusetts Department of Welfare and the National Fire Protection Association.

Ruth and Andy began wintering in Naples, Florida, where Ruth volunteered for the county sheriff's department. An Apple aficionado, she was an active member of the Naples Macintosh Users Group. Ruth and Andy traveled in Europe and Israel.

In 2002, they moved from Sandwich to Edmonds to be closer to family. After Andy died in 2004, Ruth became a snowbird. She loved her summers in Edmonds, especially daily walks along the waterfront to Marina Beach Park.

In 2010, Ruth returned to Naples as a year-round resident. She celebrated her 104th birthday there in grand style this past July.

Throughout her life, Ruth was renowned for her knitting, sewing, and tailoring. She made most of her own clothing, including a pink floral skirt she wore at her 100th birthday party. She loved long walks on the beach and was fiercely proud of her Boston roots.

Her favorite quote was a saying of her father's: "Keep smiling." She never went anywhere without her Apple Watch and iPhone.

Ruth was predeceased by Andy and by her brother, Mitchell Krock, of Swampscott, Massachusetts. She is survived by her daughter, Karen Anderson, of Seattle, Karen's partner Tom Whitmore, and five nieces and nephews.

She was one of the last of her generation, yet everyone expresses astonishment that such a lively and energetic person is gone.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in Ruth's memory may be made to Chabad of Naples or to UMass Boston.