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RUTH HOWARD (d.1990)

With great regret we have to report that Ruth Howard died in January only a few weeks after her husband John, whose funeral in December was attended by scores of Questors. The reception in the Grapevine was Ruth's last appearance at the theatre she had served for 40 years. Soon after Christmas she had a recurrence of circulation trouble in her leg. She was admitted to hospital where a few days later she suddenly collapsed.

Ruth will be remembered by older members as a stage manager of formidable talents, a superb organiser and strong as a man when it came to physical work. She had a passion for tidiness and among the Herculean tasks she tackled was cleaning out the cellars underneath The Lodge, which in the mid-fifties had become a damp home for rotting properties. A pillar of the building team who worked on the Shaw and Stan Rooms she once spent her entire summer holiday on the site. But no matter how tough the job she was always ready with an infectious grin and a joke.

Her marriage to cousin John in 1958 meant The Questors saw less of Ruth, who devoted herself to running a home with the same energy she ran shows. She stage managed Julius Caesar in 1958, however (John played Brutus) and when the new theatre was built SM'd a late-night revue. Her last show was Twelfth Night, which later went to the Minack in 1982. John played Sir Toby Belch and Ruth took charge of props — superbly as always. In Cornwall they lived in their caravan in the car park, where Ruth christened themselves 'Lord and Lady Belch'.

Although not active at The Questors recently, Ruth was one of those long-serving members who helped create the theatre and who with husband John was very much an integral part, even when not present. She was looking forward to working here again when restored to health, but it was not to be.

She will be missed by her many friends, not least by the sailing contingent, who remember her as an intrepid voyager on those Broads trips of many years ago, poling a four-ton yacht along the River Yare
with skill and strength that was the envy of most men.

Fortunately, the Howard family connection lives on, — John's sister Susan and husband John Vernon
are still members after more than 40 years and their children share their interest.

[Questopics 323, April 1990]