Ruth Ella Monroe, 89, of Memphis, MO, formerly of Springfield, MO, passed from this life on January 27, 2019, at the Scotland County Care Center in Memphis, MO. The daughter of Willis Sanford and Margaret Esther (Smith) Monroe she was born November 17, 1929 in Canton, MO and was raised on the Monroe family farm south of Memphis.
Ruth made a profession of faith and was baptized at 8 years of age at the First Baptist Church in Memphis.
She attended school in Memphis, MO graduating with the Class of 1947. From there she went on to attend the Central Methodist College in Fayette, MO receiving a Bachlor degree in music education. After receiving her undergraduate degree she taught two years of Vocal Music and English in public schools at Cabool, MO and Lusk, WY. She then attended Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA earning a Masters degree in Religious Education in 1956. She then worked from 1955 - 60 at Allegheny Avenue Baptist Church as the Director of Christian Education from 1960 - 64 at the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia as the Director of Community Center. Then from 1964 – 65 as the Philadelphia YWCA Director of Adult Programs. Ruth then went on to receive a Masters of Art in Speech/Theatre from Temple University in 1966 and while there she worked as a Graduate Assistant in costume design and construction.
In 1966 she moved to Lamars, IA where she held many positions at Westmar College including Chair of Department of Speech & Dramatic Arts until 1985. During her tenure at Westmar she attended the University of Minnesota in the summer receiving her PhD in Theatre Arts in 1976.
Ruth moved to Springfield in 1985 hiring on as the Chair of the Department of Theatre at Drury University until 2001 when she resigned but continued to teach and direct until 2010.
Throughout her career she directed more than 80 productions and helped with costume design on many others. Ruth took her career very seriously expecting much from and caring much about those she taught and directed wanting them to succeed making the most of every effort as she had done her life. Ruth leaves behind many friends, colleagues and former students whose lives she had touched in a positive way. She was a member of the National Avenue Christian Church in Springfield, MO
Ruth enjoyed traveling, making several trips to Europe including Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Russia and floating the Rhine River.
Ruth enjoyed watching the St. Louis Cardinals with her family and friends along with sharing over a good meal. She was well rounded in her array of knowledge, working crossword puzzles (N.Y. Times) and Trivial Pursuit were a breeze for her.
Preceding her in death are her parents, one brother, Robert Monroe and a sister-in-law, Virginia Monroe.
She is survived by two nephews, Mark Monroe and his wife Terri and Darrell Monroe, one sister-in-law, Norma J. Monroe, all of Memphis, MO.
The family have suggested memorials to the First Baptist Church of Memphis or the Friends Drury Theatre directly (www.drury.edu/theatre/friends-of-drury-theatre) or may be left at or mailed to the Payne Funeral Chapel, 202 E. Madison St., Memphis, MO 63555.
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