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Ruth Elwell, 1935-2009
Miss Elwell taught Speech and English for several early years at Sunny Hills High School.


Our friend Mike Clark, '66 has just learned Ruth passed away peacefully at home
on December 22, 2009 after a battle with throat cancer.

Now from a newspaper:


Died December 27, 2009, in Winnabow, North Carolina. She was born October 25, 1935 in Muncie, Indiana. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Ball State University.

Ruth moved to California in 1960 and taught English, speech and debate at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton. In 1965 she moved to Riverside and taught English and speech at Poly High School until she retired in 1991.

In 2001 she moved to Rochester, New York, and later to North Carolina where she resided until her death.

She will be missed by her cherished companion, Anita Obler, her two brothers, Bill and Phil and their families, and her many friends.


Miss Elwell's Legacy Book online is located here:



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Charlie Hale, '66 on January 18, 2010 at 11:51 AM said:

I sure did know Ruth. She was a great teacher. She turned an introverted guy like me who was failing her class into an "A" student who won several original
oratory awards my Junior and Senior year. I went on to College and and took
speech my first and second year and participated in debate teams and original oratory and competed. I later became a singer in the early seventies and eighties, and my confidence and composure I can attribute to that great great teacher.

I'm sad to hear she passed away, but grateful to what she contributed to so many of us. Thanks for letting me know.

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Others will note their appreciation and affection for Miss Elwell, and I'll join them. She was my
Speech 2 teacher in 1964-1965, and in that class she mentored one particular student in all aspects of public speaking, voice projection, stage presence and movement, appropriate and pleasing eye contact, and the rest. His name was Jackson Browne, '66, who had just begun singing his songs for audiences at the Paradox. (I remember she always called him "Jack".) Ruth deserves credit as one of many who helped him launch his career, which she also did for hundreds of us in the 1960s alone.

Miss Elwell developed one of the finest high school speech and debate departments anywhere, and prepared speech and debate teams that won dozens of tournaments and other competitions. For several years in the 1960s, she was assisted by Mrs. Patricia Roberts House, also a Sunny Hills speech teacher. All of us who took Miss Elwell's classes owe her our gratitude, perhaps our attorneys, business executives, teachers, professors and leaders especially. (January 16, 2010) -- Paul Saevig, '67