Ruth Josephine Forsythe died Oct. 5. She was 87.
Mrs. Forsythe was born March 28, 1925, in Forest Grove. She grew up on the family farm in Verboort. She attended Visitation Grade School and graduated from Forest Grove High School in 1943. She worked as an oxy-acetelyene cutting torch operator in the Portland Shipyards helping to build Liberty Ships for the war effort. She graduated from University of Portland’s Nursing Program in 1947 and began her career as an operating room nurse.
By 1950, she began work at the Veterans Administration Hospital receiving a commission as 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve Nurse Corp. For the next three years she served as the chief nurse of the Tactical Air Command Hospital of the 403rd Troop Carrier Wing. By 1954, she was promoted to captain and worked at the U.S. Air Force Dispensary as chief nurse. In 1958, she became the first chief nurse of the Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron.
In 1960, she returned to the University of Portland for graduate work in education. Maintaining her position with the Air Force Reserve, now as a major, she began work in the Portland Public School system where she taught biology and later worked in administration. She retired from her teaching career in 1971, the same year she married Col. John A Forsythe. They moved to McClellan Airforce base in California. She was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1972 and awarded her Senior Flight Nurse Wings.
In 1981, after 30 years of service, she and her husband retired near Otis. He preceded her in death in 1988. She was also preceded in death by her sister Ethel Norgren and brothers William (Billy), Robert (Bob), Norbert (Tuck) and Walter (Babe) Lepschat.
She is survived by her sister Frances Koehnke, stepchildren Lynn Forsythe and Nancy Unsinger, five grandchildren and dozens of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
A recitation of the rosary will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Verboort, followed by a funeral Mass at 11 a.m. A reception will follow the Mass held in the parish hall.
Memorial donations can be made to the Visitation School Endowment Fund.