In Memoriam: Ruth Hansen
Ruth Hansen of Portland, Oregon, a charter member of the American Rhododendron Society, died July 4, 2003, at the age of 93. Ruth and her late husband, Ted, were among the first members of the Rhododendron Society, which was founded in Portland in 1945 and developed into the ARS. She served as secretary both in the local Portland Chapter and in the ARS for seventeen years, from 1947 to 1964. She gave help and guidance year after year to many new chapters. Ruth was awarded the Gold Medal by the ARS in March 1975 for her help in the organization, preservation and growth of the Society. With her husband, Ted, and a small group of volunteers, Ruth helped develop the Crystal Springs Garden in Portland in the 1940s and 1950s.
Ruth received a master's degree at the University of Michigan in landscape architecture and returned to Oregon to work for the U.S Forest Service where she met Ted. Besides her activity in the ARS, she was an active member of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, leading botanical hikes to all parts of the state, and was a driving force behind the Berry Botanic Garden. After Ted died in 1973, she trekked in the Himalayas, China, Costa Rica, New Zealand and South Africa. She researched plants used by Native Americans for medicinal, nutritional or spiritual purposes and kept copious notes. She also maintained a "showcase" garden of rhododendrons and other horticultural treasures.