Ruth Mountaingrove, lesbian-feminist poet, photographer, composer, publisher, musician, playwright, painter, and women’s land pioneer, died peacefully on December 18, 2016, at age 93, at Ida Emmerson Hospice House in Eureka , CA.
Ruth was born Ruth Shook on February 21,1923 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, daughter of Edith Shelling and Herbert Shook. She attended Kutztown State Teachers College. In 1946 she published her first book of poetry, “Rhythms of Spring” and married Bern Ikeler. They had five children. After her 1965 divorce, she became involved in the early feminist movement, and met her future partner, Jean Mountaingrove.
In 1971 she and two of her children joined Jean at Mountaingrove, an intentional community in rural southern Oregon. Ruth and Jean became central figures in the Southern Oregon women’s land movement, publishing “Womanspirit” Magazine, founding and co-editing “Blatant Image” and organizing “Ovulars.” Ruth’s photographs of this era are archived in the Ruth Mountaingrove Collection, University of Oregon Special Archives.
In 1986 Ruth moved to Arcata, California. She continued her photography and poetry as well as participating in many community activities: Through the Eyes of Women and Women’s Radio Collective on KHSU, the Ink People, Senior News, volunteering at the library, teaching technology to seniors, and serving on the Grand Jury. She earned two masters degrees at Humboldt State, in Art and Photography and in Theater Production and Dramatic Writing, the latter at age 80. She wrote book reviews for the L-Word for 20 years, and continued to participate in her poetry writing group and have creative living room conversations with good friends.
Ruth was predeceased by her son David, and survived by her son Jeffrey Eves Ikeler, daughter Heather Eves Ikeler, and Kim Eves (Donna) Ikeler; grandchildren Jeffrey Daniel Ikeler (Tanya) and Hannah Ikeler, and great-granddaughter Evelyn Grace Ikeler.
During recent illnesses, a circle of committed friends and caregivers helped her stay in her home as long as she could. Ruth especially counted on Sue Hilton, whom she affectionately called her “manager.” The PACE program provided invaluable support, and dealt cheerfully with the complexities of working with our group.
Ruth was creative, funny, inspirational, courageous, encouraging, independent, outspoken, and determined.
A Celebration of Ruth’s Life will be held Sunday Feb 12th at 3 p.m. at Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. If you would like to donate on Ruth’s behalf, place contribute to an organization of your choice supporting women or the arts. For further information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The obituary above was submitted by Ruth Mountaingrove’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email email@example.com.