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Ruth Stevens, wife of John C. Stevens and former instructor, dies

For immediate release
Feb. 19, 2006

Marian Ruth Rambo Stevens, wife of Abilene Christian University past-president and chancellor emeritus Dr. John C. Stevens and former instructor of business administration, died Feb. 18, 2006.

"She will be missed deeply," said ACU president Dr. Royce Money.

Always known as Ruth, she was born in Abilene on Aug. 25, 1925, at Abilene's Hendrick Medical Center, then West Texas Baptist Sanitarium, during its first year of operation.

Her parents, D.B. and Inez Norton Rambo, both had long and prominent connections with Abilene Christian, dating back to ACU's fourth president, Jessie P. Sewell.  Her mother was a member of ACU's first four-year graduating class.  Her father served many years on ACU's Board of Trustees.

After a three-month courtship in 1948, Ruth married Stevens on Dec. 16. They had two children: John Clark of Colleyville and Joyce Stevens Cole of Abilene, both of whom graduated from ACU. Other survivors include Clark's wife, Michele; Joyce's husband, Jim; and grandchildren Christopher Stevens and his wife Irina of Columbia, S.C.; Jonathan Stevens and his wife Amy of Saginaw; Benjamin Stevens ofAlbuquerque , N.M.; Austin Stevens of Colleyville; and Jeannie Carroll and husband Michael of Everman. Great-grandchildren include Neely and Ava Stevens of Saginaw.

"When I think of Ruth Stevens, I will always think of an energetic and involved Christian woman who was passionate about her family and about ACU," Money said. "She was a president's wife, teacher and volunteer extraordinaire. Her singular devotion to her husband, John, for 57 years is an inspiring example that will be with us for many years to come."

Ruth attended high school in Huntsville, graduating in 1942. She earned her bachelor's degree in business administration in 1945, graduating summa cum laude and third in her class, and a master's degree in education in 1956. She earned both her degrees from ACU. As a student at ACU, Ruth was a member of the W Club and Alpha Chi National Honor Society.

She taught at Coleman High School from 1945-46, and was an instructor of business administration at ACU from 1946-48. She continued teaching part time after 1948 and retired in 1969 when her husband became president of the university.

In Abilene, Ruth served on the boards of the Abilene Opera Association and Philharmonic Association. She was also a member of Women for Abilene Christian University.

She received the Dorcas Award from the Christian Service Center for 16 years of dedicated service, mostly in the Center's shoe department. In 1981 ACU established an endowed scholarship in the name of John and Ruth Stevens. She and her husband were also awarded the John L. and June Estes Award by Abilene Christian Schools in 1994.

Ruth and John also received many honors for their healthy marriage. They were the first couple to receive the Gospel Advocate Christian Couple of the Year Award. The Stevens were also the honor couple at the National Family Conference in 1994.

She and John have been memmbers of the Hillcrest and University Churches of Christ in Abilene.

Eilliot-Hamil Funeral Home in Abilene is coordinating all funeral arrangements. 

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