Ruth Betia Henning obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Ruth Betia Henning

May 5, 1920 - March 19, 2015

Obituary


Ruth Betia Henning passed away peacefully on March 19, 2015. The story of Ruth's life is a circle of
upheaval, flight, travels, finding a partner, creating a home, bringing up a family, and culminating in
personal fulfillment.

Ruth was born in Berlin, Germany, on May 5,1920, the oldest child of Kathe and Josef Schwarz. Her
sister Ilse was 3 years younger. Ruth's mother and father gave her a solid and loving childhood, which
served her well during turbulent times as Hitler rose to power in 1933. Ruth wanted a university
education, but she was...

Ruth Betia Henning passed away peacefully on March 19, 2015. The story of Ruth's life is a circle of
upheaval, flight, travels, finding a partner, creating a home, bringing up a family, and culminating in
personal fulfillment.

Ruth was born in Berlin, Germany, on May 5,1920, the oldest child of Kathe and Josef Schwarz. Her
sister Ilse was 3 years younger. Ruth's mother and father gave her a solid and loving childhood, which
served her well during turbulent times as Hitler rose to power in 1933. Ruth wanted a university
education, but she was forced to interrupt her studies due to edicts against Jews and education. She
escaped from Germany in May, 1939, leaving her beloved family behind. Unable to get immigration
visas, they were deported to the Riga Ghetto in Latvia and perished there, victims of the Nazi
persecution.

Ruth began a 10 year odyssey that led her around the world. Having fled Germany, Ruth went to England
to work as a nanny. She then got a visa for the U.S. and in Jacksonville, Fl. she studied business.
Chicago was her next destination, where she worked for an insurance company. She became a
naturalized citizen in 1945. Skilled workers were needed by the U.S. government postwar in Japan, so
Ruth accepted a 2 year posting in Tokyo. It was there she witnessed the war tribunals, met the pearl
baron Mikimoto, and climbed Mt. Fuji. Living in Japan inspired in Ruth a lifelong respect and admiration
for Japanese culture. In Kure, Japan, she met a group of Indian doctors, who encouraged her to visit
India. When her tour of duty in Japan was over, Ruth boarded a freighter bound for Karachi. Her ship
was wrecked in the Sulu sea near Negros in Manila, with no loss of life. When finally arriving in India in
1948, India was being partitioned and there was much political unrest. Ruth traveled to Srinigar in
northern India and lived in a houseboat on Dal Lake. Like Japan, India remained a lifelong interest for
Ruth.

After these adventures, Ruth returned to Germany. She found Berlin in ruins in 1949. She went to
Frankfurt, and got a job with the U.S. postwar government. It was there she met her future husband, Carl
Henning, also from Germany. They married in 1951 and emigrated to the U.S., settling in Eugene,
Oregon, where their first daughter, Kay, was born in 1953, followed by Joan in 1956. Ruth and Carl
started Henning Forest Products and Ruth was involved in running the business with Carl and raising her
family. Carl died in 1992, and Ruth remained in the family home until 2009, when she moved to Rose
Schnitzer Manor. Ruth appreciated her stability, free from political strife, and was always aware of how
lucky she was to have arrived in Oregon to start a new life.

As a result of her experiences, Ruth developed an open, inquiring mind and was always interested in
ideas, politics, music and the arts. Throughout her life, Ruth had many long and close friendships. She
was exceptionally well read and was a respected member of several book groups. She was an
accomplished bridge player, dearly loved visiting the beach, traveling, and celebrating all occasions.
Ruth had a youthful and supportive outlook which made her very close to her grandchildren and beloved
to all who knew her. She was devoted to her family and considered them "her greatest achievement".
Ruth will be greatly missed.

Ruth is survived by her daughters Kay Danley and Joan Athay, 4 grandchildren, Rachael Ankala, Leah
Danley, Kathryn Athay and Daniel Athay, and 2 great granddaughters, Sonali Ankala and Neha Ankala,
all of Portland.

Ruth was interred in a private ceremony on March 26, a private memorial service is to be held on May 3.! !

The family suggests that remembrances or contributions be given to Doctor's Without Borders, The
National Council of Jewish Women, or Amnesty International.