HANGING ART – Raven Shaw hangs up art at her booth for the Sitka Artisans Market this afternoon at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Her business, Raven's Random, sells original art stickers and prints. The market opens tonight and runs through Sunday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Ruth Elizabeth DeArmond

Lifelong Alaska resident Ruth Elizabeth DeArmond Estelle died Dec. 8 at the Palmer Veterans & Pioneer Home, surrounded by family members. She was in her 102nd year.
Ruth was raised in Sitka, the daughter of R. W. and Elizabeth DeArmond. She attended Oregon State College, earning a degree in home economics and was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the scholastic honor society. She did graduate study in dietetics at the University of Michigan.
In 1936 she was hired by the Extension Service to serve as Home Demonstration Agent in the Matanuska Valley, assisting homesteaders, settlers and colony families in improving their domestic lives. She helped organize valley women into Homemakers Clubs and instructed them in ways to preserve wild and home-grown foods; demonstrated sewing, cooking and balanced meal preparation; and provided guidance to children’s 4-H clubs.
Ruth helped construct the United Protestant “Church of a thousand trees” and served it faithfully throughout her life. She also served as the first secretary of the Matanuska Valley Agricultural & Industrial Fair Association Inc., now the Alaska State Fair.
In 1938 she married Howard Estelle and in 1941 they began farming in Spenard. In 1949 they moved to the Bailey family Colony farm north of Palmer where they operated a dairy, raised vegetables and seven children.
Over many years Ruth served as Cub Scout Den Mother, 4-H Leader and Sunday school teacher, and was active in her Homemakers Club and Ladies Aid society.
She also operated a flower and gift shop in downtown Palmer.
Ruth’s volunteer activities were recognized when the Pioneers of Alaska crowned her Queen of Pioneer Igloo No. 13 and Auxiliary No. 11 in 1980; the State of Alaska bestowed the Governor’s Award for Friends of Families in 1984; and the State Fair board recognized her in 1996 for her years of active contribution to the fair.
Among those who preceded her in death were her older brother, Robert N. DeArmond, and her younger sister, Harriet DeArmond Ellis.
Ruth is survived by six children; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Her family thanked the Palmer Veterans & Pioneer Home staff for the excellent care Ruth received during her stay there. A memorial service is planned, the date to be announced.

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