Obituary — Ruth French (McLaughlin) Zimmerman
A Celebration of Life will take place Aug. 29 for Ruth French (McLaughlin) Zimmerman, who died Aug. 19, 2003, at Methodist Hospital in Sacramento, Calif. She was 87.
Mrs. Zimmerman was born in 1915 at Alturas, Calif., to Gertrude Payne and Robert French. The youngest of three children, she was brought up in the newspaper business as her parents published the Alturas Plain Dealer. She was able to run a linotype machine at the age of 10 and used her knowledge of publishing in various careers her entire life.
She was also a very successful athlete at Modoc High School and maintained that love for sports her entire life. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1937 with a bachelors of arts degree in public speaking, the first member of her family to graduate from college. She moved to Sacramento and became a proofreader for several newspapers and publishing companies.
In 1949 she married Kenneth McLaughlin and had her only child, Dan McLaughlin. They divorced early and she raised her son as a single mother in an era when women could not get equal jobs or equal pay to men. In 1963 she married her soul mate, Ernest Zimmerman, and supported his business, the Zimmerman Reading Clinic, until his retirement in 1981. They remained devoted to each other until his death in 1983. She was also real close to her sister, Dorris Scroggin, of Medford, Ore.,during her life.
Mrs. Zimmerman will best be remembered as a very loving person with an accepting nature and a gentle spirit. She gave unconditional love to not only all of her family members but to everyone she knew. She can be best described as having a pioneering spirit. She believed that a stranger was just a friend she hadn’t met yet. She believed in herself and her abilities and passed that strength of character to her family and friends. She never judged a person on reputation but made her own opinions on what she observed. She judged people on who they were, not what other people thought they were. Her never say die attitude was best shown in how she survived two major operations to live a very normal life.E She had a thyroid operation, and in 1956 she became one of the first persons in the state of California to have an Illiostomy. A supposed debilitating operation, she not only lived a normal life afterwards, she also traveled the state showing others facing the same operation how to cope. She was truly an inspiration to all who know her.
She was past president of the Ostomy Association, member of the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce and very active later in life in the Widowed Persons Society and an avid pinochle player.
Mrs. Zimmerman’s true love in life was to follow the athletic careers of her son and grandchildren. She would regularly come to South Lake Tahoe to watch the Sports Concern Softball team that Dan played on and became the surrogate mother for all the players. She also made frequent trips to South Lake Tahoe to watch her grandson Shawn’s Little League, Babe Ruth, high school baseball and volleyball games as well as granddaughter Shaylene’s ASA softball, basketball and volleyball games. She was a particular fan of the volleyball teams her son has coached over the years, regularly attending their matches in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas.E
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Sue McLaughlin; grandson, Shawn McLaughlin; and granddaughter, Shaylene McLaughlin, all of South Lake Tahoe; niece, Susan French of Davis, Calif.; nephews, Mike French and his children Jessica and Kimberly of Overland Park, Kan.; and Terry Scroggin and his children Jenny, Joanna and Terra of Klamath Falls, Ore.; step-daughters, Charlotte Moellenbeck and Joanne Pottenger of Santa Fe, N.M.; step-grandchildren Dennis Pottenger and Janice Rush of Sacramento, Mike Pottenger of Los Angeles, Calif., Albert Moellenbeck of Omaha, Neb., Mary Kuehner of St. Louis, Mo., Cheryl Tallman of Petoskey, Mich., and Joan Ahlers of Los Alamos, N.M.
A Celebration of Life will begin at 2 p.m. Aug. 29 at Mt. Vernon Mortuary, 8201 Greenback Lane, Fair Oaks, Calif.
In lieu of flowers the family would like donations to be given to the United Ostomy Association, Inc., 19772 MacArthur Blvd., Suite 200, Irvine, CA 92612-2405.