Donna Ruth
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onna Ruth was a close friend of mine who passed away late in 2004. 

Donna came to the studio in the late Eighties as part of the SSQQ Studebaker Era. That is when Donna became an integral part of the studio. Here is a quote from the Studebakers Story:

"In addition, practically all of the important SSQQ instructors in the Nineties came from this Studebaker Generation.  Maureen Brunetti, Susie Allen, Donna Ruth, Judy Stidham, Ben Liles, and Linda Rooks were all card-carrying members of the Studebaker Gang."

Donna worked here at SSQQ for many years during the 1990s. In addition to teaching Swing Dancing, Donna also helped with registration. 

She was a close friend to Judy Archer and Maureen Brunetti. She was also a best friend to Margaret Easley, the lovely wife of my best friend Tom Easley.

Margaret and Donna worked together at an elementary school in Sugarland for many years. I believe Donna was the school librarian.  I think Margaret came to SSQQ first, so I have to guess it was Margaret who talked Donna into coming over here to the studio.

From the 1993 SSQQ Sock Hop,
Donna Ruth with her pal Peter the Nerd (Peter Shores)
Sharon Michaels is in the background with her mother Marjorie

----- Original Message -----
From: Margaret Easley
To: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 4:49 PM
Subject: Donna Ruth

"Hi Rick,

Didn't know if you knew about Donna Ruth. I just found out myself since our computer has been out of commission for about two weeks.

Donna died Oct. 29. She had had a heart attack last summer and was on medication, but I went to lunch with her last September and she seemed good.

I am assuming she had another heart attack but don't know for sure. I am really shocked and saddened.

Margaret Easley"

(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Donna's death was an eye-opener for the rest of us.  Donna was a card-carrying member of our SSQQ inner circle.  Donna was one of us!  As I told Margaret and Tom Easley, this meant Donna Ruth was the first of our close-knit group to pass to the other side. She was just a few years older than the rest of us.

Donna was in her late 50s when she passed away. That is a pretty young age to die of a heart attack.  Unfortunately, Donna refused to take care of herself.

After the death of her beloved husband Paul in the Eighties, Donna never completely regained her enthusiasm for living.  Donna put Paul up on a pedestal and talked about being reunited with him all the time.  So she proceeded to deliberately neglect her health.  Donna smoked a lot, ate whatever she wanted, and didn't exercise.  Although she had been a fixture at the studio throughout the Nineties, when her health declined in the 2000s, Donna began to stay away from the studio.  Upon her death, I had not seen her in some time. 

My main memory is Donna's big warm heart and happy laugh.  A graduate of Lamar High School and the University of Houston, Donna was very intelligent and possessed a kind heart. She loved to Jitterbug - she and Maureen spent many a night over at Studebaker's dancing till they dropped from exhaustion back in the late 80s.  Farewell, my friend, and rest in peace.)



Donna Ruth had the unusual distinction of bringing the Einstein Puzzle to SSQQ.  Back in 1998, my friend Donna Ruth emailed the Einstein Puzzle to me.  As someone who enjoys Logic Puzzles, I gave it a try. Then, after I solved it, I wrote this article in my dance studio newsletter.

January, 1999: Einstein's Puzzle : Donna submits a Brain Teaser !  

Donna Ruth (pictured at right from one of our Sock Hop Parties) is our well-known Jitterbug instructor.  Recently Donna sent me a brain teaser that claims to have been created by none other than Dr. Albert Einstein himself.

And the email carried the assertion that Albert believed that 98% of all humanity didn't have the smarts to lick this problem.  Well, that kind of challenge got my blood boiling!  A puzzle that proves I am smarter than the next guy was right up my alley.  

Little did I know how tricky it was.  I have to say solving the puzzle wasn't easy, but
five hours later and about half a dead tree in paper, yes, I got the correct answer.

Humbled that I had to work harder than expected, but grateful I had managed to stumble into the elite 2%, I must say the logic test was a worthy one.   If you desire to see if you belong in the upper 2% of the world's brain jocks, then
go for it!

2009 Update

Believe it or not, if you type "Einstein Puzzle" into Google, the SSQQ version pops up on Page One.  The SSQQ Einstein Puzzle sent in by Donna went on to become famous.  Indeed, for many years, it had the very Google first listing, but I see we are down to Number Four these days.  I am sure Donna must be very amused at this odd legacy.

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