Ruth passed away peacefully from congestive heart failure on May 20, 2019, at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles, Missouri, at the age of 89.
Ruth was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, on October 22, 1929, to Anna Seiboth and Olaf Sorensen. When she was two years old, her family moved from Bogota, New Jersey, to a series of rural homes in Orange County, New York for healthier air. They settled in Goshen, New York, where she spent most of her childhood. An excellent student, Ruth received a scholarship to Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, where she majored in Mathematics and, among other activities, took flying lessons.
After graduating from Drew in 1952 she went to work for Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey as a “computress”, part of the technical staff that supported the Lab’s research before advent of digital computers. She rented an apartment in nearby Summit and bought her pride and joy – a red 1953 MG convertible.
At Bell Lab, she met her future husband, Stuart Phinney Lloyd, to whom she was married on August 15, 1954, at the Summit Unitarian Church. She and Stuart rented a small house in New Vernon, where they started their family with the birth of son James and daughter Elisabeth (Lisa). They moved to Summit in 1957, where their son David was born. In 1977, she and Stuart moved to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where she lived until 2014 before moving to a retirement community in St. Charles near her son David and closer to her son James in Kansas City, Missouri, and daughter Lisa in Bloomington, Indiana.
Ruth enjoyed many activities in addition to caring for her three children. She loved making art and took classes at the Summit Art Center, where she studied under Joe Jones and produced work that won ribbons and still graces her childrens’ homes. In 1959, she began a long involvement in the environmental movement by volunteering with the group that successfully prevented the Great Swamp in nearby Morris County from becoming the site of a fourth NYC metropolitan airport. In less than a year, community opposition led to an Act of Congress under which the land was acquired that in 1964 was dedicated as the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. In her later years she frequently found peace on its quiet trails.
In the late 1960s, she became involved with an effort to clean up the Passaic River, organizing a public forum in 1969 under the auspices of the League of Women Voters. In 1970, she was part of a group of concerned citizens who successfully pushed for the creation of a Municipal Conservation Commission, later renamed the Summit Environmental Commission. She served as Secretary to the Commission and, by 1975, was appointed Chairman. She also served on the Policy Advisory Committee of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Advisors of the Passaic River Coalition.
In addition to her environmental activism, Ruth was a member of the Summit Lay Committee on Education and served on the boards of the League of Women Voters and Drew University Alumni Association.
Gardening and nature were two of her greatest loves and she was a devoted volunteer at both the Great Swamp and the Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Some of her closest friendships were made through those organizations and at the Wagner Farm Community Garden near her home in Berkeley Heights.
Ruth is remembered by her children for taking them on exciting visits to many art museums, zoos and gardens, as well as patiently driving them to countless lessons and school obligations and for organizing memorable family trips to Sandy Hook, Maine, North Carolina, Cape Cod and many other beautiful and interesting places.
She is survived by her children James (Laura Knickerbocker), Lisa (Teddy Alfrey) and David (Laura Schumacher) and grandchildren Margaret, Sarah and Annie Lloyd (James and Laura) and Owen, Dana, Conrad, Katie and Michael Lloyd (David and Laura). She was predeceased by her husband Stuart, who died in 2007, and her brother George Sorensen, who died in 1984.
Ruth will be buried with Stuart at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, later this year in a small family gathering. Those wishing to honor her memory are encouraged to make a donation in her name to either the Great Swamp Watershed Association or Drew University.