Ruth Earle in poolRuth Earle’s years of service to Portsmouth’s children was honored in 1973 when she was named “Citizen of the Year.”  She was born in Portsmouth in 1913 to Jethro Peckham and Sarah Anthony Peckham.  Newspaper articles from the Newport Daily News provide dozens of examples of her work in the community.

At the time Ruth was honored in 1973, Ruth had spent  33 years devoted to the Girl Scouts. Since 1934 Ruth served as Troop leader and trainer.  She even went to Venezuela as a trainer.

Many of us in Portsmouth remember Ruth as a fixture at Sandy Point Beach during the summer.  As of 1973 she had spent 25 years with the water safety program.  Ruth taught countless numbers of Portsmouth children how to swim.  She continued teaching swimming and water safety at the Boys Club Teaches in Newport and she taught an adapted swim program at the Howard Johnson Pool for those who needed the extra attention.

Some called her “Mrs. Red Cross” for her dedication to first aid and motor corp of Red Cross.  She went into schools to teach children to appreciate and care for their pets.

Ruth served the adult community in Portsmouth as well.  Her father Jethro Peckham had been town moderator for 19 years and Ruth succeeded him in 1968.  She served two years and was the first woman to hold that town position.   She was active in the Portsmouth Conservation Commission, the Grange, the Portsmouth Historical Society, the National Travelers Club, the Elmhurst Advisory Committee and the American Field Service.  She even served as the Portsmouth Correspondent for the Newport Daily News.

Ruth Earl died in 1999, but she will be remembered for her service to Portsmouth and to our children.