Tuesday, November 17, 2009

EWGS Presidents: Ruth Churchill Austin

This is the fourth in the series on the Presidents of EWGS leading up to the 75th anniversary in 2010. See the previous post on Samuel Pool Weaver, the previous post on Leora Cookingham Thiel, and the previous post on Susan Marie West Jack.

The fourth president of EWGS was Ruth Churchill Austin in 1941 and 1942. She was also another founder of the Spokane Public Library Friends of the Library. She was born 1884 in Niles, Michigan to Francis N. Churchill and Ella L. McKay. Francis died 27 September 1937 in Spokane county and Ella died 11 April 1927 in Spokane. Francis was the son of William and Olive (Remington) Churchill and Ella was the daughter of A. and Sarah (Mayhu) McKay.

Ruth married John Frederick Austin here in Spokane November 23, 1904. John was born in Bay City, Michigan April 3, 1883 and is an eighth generation descendant of Robert Austin of Kingstown, Rhode Island (The book on Robert Austin is in the genealogy collection of the Spokane Public Library). Ruth and John had two children: Helen Austin b. August 13, 1906 in Seattle, Washington and John Churchill Austin b. October 19, 1914 in Spokane.

John Frederick Austin was a floriculturist and horticulturist and organized the Spokane Flower Growers association and managed it from 1925 to 1948. He was president of the Society of American Florists from 1942 to 1945 and a director of the society from 1935 to 1944. He was a member of the Northwest Florists association, board member of Associated Industries of Spokane, Early Birds Breakfast Club, Spokane Club, and El Katif Shrine. He was a trustee of the Chamber of Commerce and past President of Spokane Retail Trade bureau. He died January 25, 1951 in Spokane and was cremated.

Ruth (Churchill) Austin died in Seattle November 24, 1973 (her daughter Helen lived in Seattle). She had been a member of the Daughters of American Revolution and Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. Ruth also had donated many books to the Spokane library and was generous with cash contributions also.


Comments by Carrie Lartigue on Mrs. Ruth Austin:  "She said many times, 'You can't separate history from genealogy, both are composed of events and people and genealogy is only history with the personal touch.' Ruth also gave books to add to the collection at the library."

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