The family of Ruth Parnell Garnham are sad to announce her peaceful passing on the morning of August 3, 2021, in south Seattle. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on October 7, 1924 (96 yr). She made the U.S. and Canada her home. She began in Oklahoma, then to Florida, on to California, next to Victoria, B.C, back to the states via Washington to Missouri, and finally back to the Pacific Northwest.
Ruth grew up with a love for her friends, a passion for music and singing, and a special delight in floral arranging, all of which continued to flourish and lasted her entire lifetime.
Her passion for music and all things beautiful propelled her forward. She pursued her love of music, educating herself, singing at concerts and solos in church. She had the voice of an angel. When her first voice teacher invited a pianist to accompany her for her first concert, she said to the teacher and the accompanist, Oh no, I can’t sing in front of anyone. At the time, she was referring to the accompanist let alone an audience. It took quite the persuasion to let the accompanist stay. She did overcome that shyness enough to do many performances and sing in choirs, where she also was asked to do solo parts.
She put together performances and involved the people around her, who them gained a greater love of music.
She also had quite the love of nature and animals (and animals loved her) and art and always surrounded herself with flowers. She took classes in floral arranging and from the perspective of different cultures. She was quite fond of Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement—it involved a very spiritual essence to its expression.
Ruth had a keen spiritual sense of the world around her. She loved her church. She was intuitive, kind, compassionate, caring, and loved children. Before iPhones, she carried a small camera with her so that she was always ready for that Kodak moment, especially, when she was around children.
Among the things she loved, she loved her family the most. She loved Christmas and decorating, or any holiday when family would come and celebrate with her. Family was so very important to her. She was proud of her children: Cheryl Paresa, James (Buddy) Havens, Janet (Sissy) Millican, Larry Vaught, George Vargas and step daughter Georgia Vargas (deceased). She was predeceased by her siblings, Laura Ellen Parnell Frischling (her second mother) and Henry James Parnell (her favorite brother, who shared her love of music).
She was so grateful to be blessed with 8 grandchildren: Dennis, Jamie, Sean, Alex, Linnea, Sanna, Sara, & Ryan, and 6 great grandchildren: Jack, Henry, Louis, Oliver, Eden Rose and Archer.
Our grief is matched by tremendous gratitude for the endless memories of a life well-lived, full of love and laughter, a life we are all so proud of. Thank you Mom, for all your lessons and paving the way.
A verse from a Hymn which speaks to her:
“I sing my way today,
My heart is joyous, free,
For what is Thine is ever mine,
I find myself in Thee.”
I’m sure she continues to sing with a happy heart!
A private family gathering will take place in the coming weeks.