Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Friend in Deed

Ruth Britton, school librarian, mystery fan, and a dear family friend--who said she read my personal blog every day--died on Saturday in the Los Angeles County town of Rosemead.

Ruth was in her late 80s, but never revealed her exact age: she wanted to avoid retirement from the University of Southern California (USC), where she flourished as the head librarian at the School of Social Work.

Ruth was a feisty woman whose usual opinion of a book or film was “Well, I liked it more than I didn’t like it.” Her long friendship with the legendary Frances Feldman of USC--which included making gambling trips together to Laughlin and Las Vegas, Nevada--finally ended with Feldman's death some years ago. For a long time those two found seats at every game the USC basketball ball team played.

In her golden years, Ruth was always in attendance at the Carnegie Deli or the Mystery Bookstore (closing tomorrow) in Los Angeles’ Westwood neighborhood whenever I was part of an event. She will be missed deeply not only by me but especially by my wife, Jane Wilson, who worked with Ruth to establish USC’s School of Social Work Archives.

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