Ruth Teller Goodwin, 88, civil rights activist

November 13, 2003

Ruth Teller Goodwin, a civil rights activist and former treasurer of the state board of the League of Women Voters, died of Alzheimer's disease Nov. 6 at Copper Ridge in Sykesville. She was 88, and a resident of Catonsville for four decades.

Born and raised Ruth Teller in Littleton, Colo., she earned her bachelor's degree in 1936 from the University of Denver and briefly taught school in Montana. In 1941, she moved to Baltimore and went to work for the Social Security Administration.

In 1941, she married William M. Goodwin Jr., a Procter & Gamble Co. industrial engineer who died in 1998.

They were active in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s, and members of the Baltimore chapter of the Urban League and West Baltimore Interfaith Interracial Council. Mrs. Goodwin also was an active member of the League of Women Voters for many years at the local level before being named treasurer of its state board.

She was a member for more than 50 years of St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church, where she served as Sunday school superintendent and treasurer. She also taught herself how to use a personal computer and designed a spreadsheet program that helped computerize the church's financial records.

She enjoyed playing the piano and recorder and attending the theater. She was an avid reader and accomplished writer who was known for her "Yearly Yuletide Yarns" in which she recounted her family's activities.

"She had an ornery sense of humor and generally liked to stir things up, whether the situation warranted stirring or not. When filling out a form for one of her kids' schools, she listed her occupation as a `political agitator,'" said a son, Terry Goodwin of Miami.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Bartholomew's, 4711 Edmondson Ave.

Mrs. Goodwin also is survived by another son, James Goodwin of New York; two daughters, Fran Goodwin of Stone Ridge, N.Y., and Meg Sampson of Hawk Point, Mo.; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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