Ruth Johnson Cushman
101 Years, 10 Months
Ruth Johnson Cushman, 101, of Hollywood, CA, passed away of natural causes on June 22, 2020, after moving from California to Wyoming. No services are scheduled at this time.
Born Ruth Strong Johnson, on August 23, 1918 in Manhattan, NY, to pediatrician, Dr. Frank Elmer Johnson and his wife, Esther Mary Andrew, Ruth was one of four daughters born to the Johnson family. Ruth had many fond memories of her family’s summers spent in Long Lake in the Adirondacks. About her summers she recalled, “very little sun there, but a place near the beach to plant things”. She recalled fishing with grandpa and the chef to catch the day’s meal, as well as enjoying climbing mountains, where she said she and her sisters, “didn’t behave like beautiful young women at all.”
Ruth graduated from St. Agatha’s School for Girls, of New York City in 1936. In 1940, she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Smith College of Northampton, MA, double majoring in French and History. During her time at Smith College, Ruth spent one year studying abroad in France. After Smith College, she took courses at a secretarial school in New York City. Later in her life, she would take coursework in religion. In November 1976, she earned her “Practitioner of Religious Science” from the United Church of Religious Science, Los Angeles, CA. Then in May of 1983, she received recognition as a “Fellow of Religious Science” by the United Church of Religious Science School of Ministry.
Ruth would later reflect on her time in Europe as fueling her love of religion. She attended three Christian student conferences there (one in Switzerland and two in Holland), which led her to organize a similar event in St. Louis after she returned. She said, “In those days we didn’t study the Bible and that [event] was built around the Bible”. After this conference, she found a job working for Reverend Allan Chalmers of the Broadway Tabernacle Church of New York. During her work at the Broadway Tabernacle Church, she attended the church’s “Young People’s Club” on Sunday nights where she met her future husband, Dwight S. Cushman.
Dwight S. Cushman asked her to marry him as war had been declared and he was going into the service. When asked how her parents felt about her choice to get married she said, “Mother and dad never objected to the things we chose or believed in deeply, they trusted us.” The two were married on June 13, 1940, at the Broadway Tabernacle Church in NY, and shortly afterward moved to Arcadia, California where Dwight was stationed in the military police at Santa Anita Racetrack. Dwight’s work would then take them to Monterey, CA and then Loma Linda, CA. Their first son, Charles “Chuck” was born in San Bernardino, CA. Their second son, William “Bill” would be born at Santa Barbara, CA and after Dwight got out of the service, their last son, Thomas “Tom” was born in Phoenix, AZ. They traveled around the country during his five years serving as an officer in the U.S. Army.
Ruth and her husband, Dwight, moved to Los Angeles after he completed his time in the military. He found a job as a boy scout executive.
After her sons grew older, Ruth began her career in education, working at Los Angeles City College in the admissions department for 15 years. Although she and her husband later separated and divorced, she never remarried and kept her married name until her death.
Ruth was a delightful, warm and yet, opinionated lady. She never held back when her opinion was not in agreement with yours. She was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party all of her life. From her childhood on, she found enjoyment in the arts including classical music, opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She invested time in learning the harp and had a real talent for drawing and enjoyed sketching from nature. Most of all Ruth enjoyed making a study of foreign cultures, she especially loved Asian foods and studying Mandarin Chinese. Ruth was a “foodie” long before the term got popular. She always got insider knowledge of restaurants only the local ethnic groups frequented, and took pride in taking friends there to impress them with her appreciation of exotic dishes. She cared deeply about international issues and loved listening to NPR and watching KCET. Ruth was good at finding the best in people and cared to help them with their needs. If they needed to learn English, she would help teach them. If they needed work, she would hire them for a day of housekeeping services at her home.
Ruth was a former resident of several retirement communities including the former Kensington of San Gabriel, CA; Westminster Gardens of Duarte, CA; and Siskiyou Springs of Yreka CA before she moved to Casper, WY to spend her last days with her great-granddaughter, Hazel. Unfortunately, the move from California to Wyoming would prove detrimental to Ruth’s health as she arrived very ill, and only continued to decline after a series of strokes and seizures took her ability to speak and swallow.
Those who preceded Ruth in death include her three sisters: Mary Elizabeth, Esther and Harriet; her parents Frank and Esther; her ex-husband Dwight S. Cushman; and her son, Charles “Chuck” Cushman; and granddaughter, Deborah Jeanne Cushman.
Ruth is survived by her children, William Strong Cushman, Thomas Cloud; grandchildren, Charles William Cushman (Susan), Natashia Ann Ash(Corey), Dwight Bustos Cushman (Jane), Will Bustos Cushman (Liz), Melissa Sara Pack (Andy); great grandchildren: Jessica Marie Johnston (Graham), Joshua Charles Cushman (Alyssa), Alan Jordan Ash, Emily Ann Ash, Chase Sabastian Cushman, Ryan Alexander Cushman, Hazel Marigold Cushman, Eli Jacob Ash; great-great grandchildren, Malachi Johnston, Scout Johnston, Oakley Johnston, Haven Johnston, Eowyn Cushman, Estelle Cushman, Ester Cushman; several nieces and nephews; And many other dear and life long friends.
The family asks that memorial donations may be made to: https://caspercollegefoundation.org/werner-wildlife-donations/
Werner Wildlife Museum
125 College Drive
Casper, WY 82601
Arrangements are entrusted to the care of Bustard & Jacoby Funeral Home 600 CY Ave, Casper, WY 82601.
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