d. Feb. 17, 2013
Ruth died at home Feb. 17, 2013, after a protracted illness. Ruth was the only daughter of Ollie Kajander and Ilona Sustaamoinen, and granddaughter of the first woman in the Finnish Parliament. After stints in New Hampshire and other states, the family settled in Jersey City, N.J. Ruth graduated from Douglass College in 1961. It was on the New Brunswick campus that Ruth met her future husband of 50 years, Dr. Joseph Silva Jr., whom she married on New Year’s Day, 1963.
After marriage, the young couple moved frequently to accommodate Joe’s service in the Air Force and his medical training and residency. In New York, Ruth worked outside the home as a medical editor and a clothing store saleswoman (and model!). The couple had four children and settled down in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1972 and then again in Davis in 1983.
Ruth’s creative passion spilled into every area of her life. She was a master-level clothing designer and textile artist who became skilled in photography, basketry, pottery and piano. Her curiosity about the world fueled her love of travel and she was the consummate hostess to hundreds of international medical students, residents, faculty and family visitors. Ruth learned to say “welcome” in the native language of every guest in her home.
Ruth was predeceased by her twin children, daughter Amy in 2010 and son Erik in 2012. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Joseph Silva Jr. of El Macero; son, Scott Paul and daughter-in-law Beverly of Yuba City along with their children Phoebe and Nathan; daughter, Karen Shisler and son-in-law Karl of Davis; and friends and family in the United States, Finland, Belarus and throughout the world.
Services to celebrate her life will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, 1701 Russell Blvd. in Davis. After a brief reception at the church, friends are welcome to gather at her home in El Macero at 27350 Golf View Circle. When asked how she wished to be remembered, Ruth said, “Throw a great party!”
The family prefers to forego gifts in her memory, but for friends and family who wish to give, the family requests donations to the LCI general fund.