The Norman Transcript

January 4, 2013

Ruth Parmet David


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Longtime Norman resident Ruth Parmet David was a remarkable woman who touched many lives until her death Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in Palo Alto, Calif.

Born in 1917 in Allentown, Pa., Ruth was the third child of Russian immigrants Sarah Schoolman and David Parmet. She displayed a passion for dance at an early age. Following her muse, she spent summers at Bennington studying with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman when modern dance was in its infancy.

Returning to Cedar Crest College each fall, Ruth was tapped to teach dance and to choreograph annual performances as an undergraduate. Upon graduation, she was hired to fill a new faculty position created especially for her. Teaching dance and performing was something Ruth did off and on throughout her life, culminating in her last performance at age 85.

As WWII began, Ruth married Paul David, an intense intellectual and political activist. After the birth of their daughter and the end of the war, they moved to Norman, where she resided from 1945 to 2006. While Paul taught zoology at the University of Oklahoma, Ruth was active in a drama club, where she exhibited exceptional talent in cutting and reading plays and demonstrated an amazing ability to find creative solutions to problems from exquisite sewing to household repairs. She obtained a teaching credential, but no jobs were available, so she completed a master’s degree in library science at the University of Oklahoma in 1963 and was hired to teach library science at the graduate school, a position she had for 14 years.

As Paul struggled with lung cancer, Ruth retired at 60 to care for him, during which time she took up gardening and managed a trip with Paul to Russia. When Paul died in 1984, she volunteered as a reference librarian at the local public library, where she worked for 17 years until age 85. By 88, she was ready to move to California, where both her children reside.

But this is the surface story. The essence of Ruth lies underneath: She took under her wing anyone who needed help, solace, advice or simply good food and a place to sleep. Dozens and dozens of friends and acquaintances, young and old, were blessed by the love and caring she generously gave to anyone who needed a friend. Her graciousness and wonderful sense of humor put everyone at ease. Her death leaves an enormous hole in the lives of the people who have known and loved her. As the numbness from her loss begins to fade, what will always remain is the depth of the love she gave us.

Her sister, Bessie, and brother, Morris, predeceased her by many years.

Ruth is survived by her son, John David; her grandsons Paul and Gavin of Glendale, Calif.; and by her daughter, Jane David and son-in-law David Greene of Palo Alto, Calif.

Contributions in her honor can be made to the Norman Public Library.

Norman Transcript, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013

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