Naomi Ruth Adams


October 10, 1938 - January 29, 2014

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Naomi Ruth Williams Adams, “Ruth”, passed away peacefully on January 29, 2014, at The Montefiore Nursing Home, in Beachwood, OH, surrounded by God’s Grace and the love of family.

She had been on a roller coaster of failing health for a number of years. Her last hours were full of memories, love and singing.

Ruth was born October 10, 1938, in Portsmouth, OH, to The Rev. Jesse Clinton Williams and Lola Ethel Hardin Williams. She was preceded in death by her parents, and four of her siblings: Jesse, Clinton Williams, Jr., Joseph Williams, Claire Marie York, and John Wesley Williams.

Ruth is survived by her husband, The Rev. Dr. Mendle E. Adams, of Richmond Heights, OH; Ruth and Mendle would have celebrated their 57th Wedding Anniversary on February 2, 2014.

She is survived by her four children: David Adams ( Kim), of Cincinnati, Ohio; Brian Adams of Fort Wayne, IN; Josef Adams (Debbie) of Newcastle, IN; and Vicki Adams Werneke (Ron), of Richmond Hts., OH. Ruth is also survived by brothers Edward Williams of Florida, and Paul Williams (Catherine) of Beachwood, OH. There are also numerous grand-children, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, and long time friends who have been like family.

Ruth was an accomplished musician who played the piano and organ many times at the various churches where Mendle was the pastor.

She took college courses at Purdue University, Indiana Wesleyan University, in Indiana, and McPherson College, in McPherson, Kansas. In 1972, she graduated from the Harvard School Arts Administration.

In the late 1960s, Ruth joined the crusade to fight the injustice of racism and inequality. She and Mendle were active in local, state and national politics in Indiana and campaigned for numerous Democrat candidates.

Ruth had a great appreciation for the arts. When her children were in grade school in Marion, Indiana, she worked with the local arts council and the PTA to start an Artists In Residence program where she brought to Marion artists from across the country and around the world. The Adamses opened their home to many of these artists. When Ruth worked for the Indiana Arts Council in 1976, she was the coordinator of the Indiana celebration of national bicentennial. In 1978 and 1979, when she worked for the Grand Rapids Arts Council, she was the coordinator of the Festival of the Arts. She was also a member of the advisory board of the Kennedy Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

When the Equal Rights Amendment passed in Congress and was sent out to the states for ratification, Ruth became even more interested in politics. In 1976, the National Organization for Women recruited Ruth to be the coordinator for the Indiana campaign. In January 1977, the Amendment passed in Indiana, the last state to ratify the amendment. In 1980, with the deadline for passage of the ERA fast approaching with just two states left, NOW again recruited Ruth and sent her to Oklahoma to be the Project Director of the Countdown Campaign. Ruth has continued to be a member of NOW.

When Ruth and Mendle lived in McPherson, Kansas, where Mendle was the pastor at the First Congregational Church, Ruth ran for the Kansas House of Representatives in 1984 against a well established Republican incumbent. She was also a delegate to the 1984 Democratic National Convention. When Ruth and Mendle returned to Oklahoma, Ruth worked for a Corporation Commissioner, the Secretary of State, and a local arts institute.

In 1991, Ruth and Mendle moved to Boone County, Kentucky, to start a new church with the United Church of Christ. The work of Ruth and Mendle brought many people back to the church who had become disenfranchised and hurt by organized religion in the past.

In 1996, Ruth’s health began its decline when she had back surgery that did not go well. She was not able to work after that. She devoted her time to her family and friends. She especially enjoyed spending time with her numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ruth was committed to the cause of justice and equality to the very last.

Mendle retired from St. Peter's UCC in Pleasant Ridge in 2007.

Ruth chose to donate her body to the University of Cincinnati Medical School.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014, at First United Church of Christ, 5808 Glen View Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio,45224, at 2 pm, where we will celebrate Ruth's life with music, stories, memories, and laughter.
Memorials should be sent in her name to First UCC with notation for the Parish Nursing Fund , which assisted with many of Ruth’s medical equipment needs the last few years.