Ruth F. Van Meter
Ruth F. Van Meter, an executive for the International YWCA who ran programs
in 15 countries and established chapters of the association abroad, died of
chronic lung disease Monday in a Portland care center. She was 81.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. May 5 in the First United Methodist Church
After she attended a gym class at the Portland Young Women's Christian
Association during World War II, she was asked to serve on a special war service
committee. Shortly thereafter, she became a professional executive for the YWCA.
Ms. Van Meter served as an executive director for the young women's association
in California, Utah and Hawaii before being tapped to run programs overseas.
She went on to run programs in 15 countries and establish chapters in five
countries. Ms. Van Meter wrote technical manuals in Spanish for the YWCAs she
established in Latin America.
After returning to Portland in 1973, she did volunteer work for the YWCA in
Tijuana, Mexico, and served as a board and committee member for the Portland
Equally active in the First United Methodist Church, which she joined in 1930,
Ms. Van Meter taught Sunday school classes and taught in the School of Missions
in Caldwell, Idaho, and Eugene. She served as a church appointee on the
Committee on the Episcopacy for the* Oregon- Idaho Conference.
Ms. Van Meter received many honors and distinctions and was a charter and Gold
Card member of the National Association of Social Work. She had received the
patriarchal blessing of Archbishop Athenagoras, patriarchal head of the Greek
Orthodox Church, and received an award from the United Service Organization for
helping to establish a USO club in Istanbul, Turkey.
She had been listed in Who's Who of Women in the World, Who's Who of American
Women and the National Register of Prominent Americans and International
In 1987, Ms. Van Meter was presented with the YWCA Founder's Award and
recognized by the Portland YWCA as one of 13 women of achievement.
She was a life member of the YWCA of Portland and belonged to the World Affairs
Council of Oregon and the Oregon chapter of the United Nations. Ms. Van Meter
donated many of her documents to Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
She was born Feb. 6, 1911, in Moscow, Idaho. She moved to Portland in 1922 and
graduated from Highland Grade School and Jefferson High School. She later was
named to the Hall of Fame of Alumni of Jefferson.
Ms. Van Meter earned her bachelor's degree from Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky.,
and became an accredited social worker through graduate studies at the
University of Southern California and Columbia University. She received a
Fulbright teaching fellowship in Athens, Greece.
Before she became associated with the YWCA, Ms. Van Meter held several positions
in the Portland area. She had been a clerk in the office of the Western Pacific
and the Santa Fe railroads and was an office manager and secretary for the
Department of Mines and Geology for the state of Oregon.
Survivors include her brother, William of Deltona, Fla.
Disposition was by cremation.
The family suggests that remembrances be contributions to the endowment funds of
the First United Methodist Church in Portland or the Young Women's Christian
From: The Oregonian - Portland, Oregon. April