Ruth Mugridge Snodgrass, Class of 1951

Posted Aug 13, 2020

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Ruth Mugridge Snodgrass ’51 died July 30, 2020. Ruth was born July 28, 1928, in Hollsopple, Pennsylvania, to Mary Reese and James Mugridge. Ruth was a 1946 graduate of Somerset, PA High School and a 1951 graduate of Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio. While at Otterbein she was part of the Tau Delta (Deltas) sorority. She received her Master’s of Education degree from Kent State University in 1969.

She began writing poetry in elementary school; by 5th grade she had written a short play. During high school, several of her poems were published nationally. At Otterbein she was involved in many aspects of Quiz & Quill, the college’s literary society. After she retired she published a full-length book, a memoir, Dark Brown Is the River, in 2004. Two years later she published a sequel, On Goes The River: The Somerset Years. In 2008 and 2010, Ruth published two whimsical children’s picture books, developed from songs she’d previously written, The Magical Merry-Go-Round and The Teddy Bear Contest.

For 34 years she taught high school English, speech, French, and dramatics in Ohio’s public schools, including at Strasburg, Beach City, Navarre, and, for 24 years, Tuscarawas Valley in Zoarville, from which she retired in 1985. She coached numerous competitive speech students and directed contest plays, producing many state forensics and dramatic qualifiers. Ruth directed over 100 high school plays, often musicals she wrote and scored herself.

Fluent in French, Ruth traveled to Europe in 1961 with an Otterbein College alumni group for home stays and language practice. In August she was in Germany, traveling between East and West Berlin, just days before the wall went up, not fully aware until later of the history she had witnessed first-hand.

In the early 1990s Ruth was part of a group that founded Hispanic Ministries of Tuscarawas County, an accomplishment of which she was particularly proud. She taught English classes from 1995-2003 and also taught four years in HMTC’s bilingual Vacation Bible School.
Ruth was active in her church, Strasburg United Methodist. She sang in the choir, was a summer counselor, chaired Mother and Daughter Banquet committees, led the congregation’s Women group, coordinated volunteers to provide meals for the homeless shelter, and, for the congregation’s 200th anniversary celebration, wrote a hymn and created a coloring book, for which she was named the Historian of the Year in 2011 for the UMC’s East Ohio Conference.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her siblings and their spouses: infant niece, Constance Mugridge; nephews, James Greig and David Mugridge; and great-great-nephew, Andrew Negro.
Ruth is survived by her daughter, Mary (Matthew) Buckley; nieces: Marcy Zeppernick, Cheryl Fanning, Sharon (Mark) Johnson, Nancy Mugridge, Denise Spencer, Rebecca (Mike) Mugridge McIntosh, Shonsa Hanke; nephews: Robert (Kathy) Greig, James Mugridge, Paul (Claire) Mugridge; and many great-nieces, great-nephews, and friends.