Ruth Durham was born in Halsa, Norway in 1920 & moved to Normandy Park in 1957. She was known from Burien to Ballard and beyond for her Norwegian art & cultural involvement. Ruth is pictured at her home wearing her nordmørsbunad, seated at her family’s 120-year-old spinning wheel which she had shipped here from Norway. She passed away Dec. 6. She was 92.
Ruth Durham, 92, passes; She left Norway for Normandy Park, but Norway remained with her
In 1920 a future Normandy Park resident was born among the scenic fjords of Halsa, Norway. Ruth Durham, a professional dietician, would arrive here in 1957 to continue her practice at Virginia Mason, Firland Sanatorium and the Norse Home, where her name is inscribed as a life member.
When she packed her bags in Scandinavia her culture also came along for the ride, and remained until her recent passing, on Dec. 6. She loved Norwegian books, craft and history.
Tom and Ingeborg Herring, and Judy Earle say they were like close family members to her, and compiled some of her accomplishments.
Ruth was married to Jim Durham for 40 years. She was a member of Leif Erikson Lodge Sons of Norway where she danced with the Leikarring folk dancers. She was active with the Valkyrien Lodge, Daughters of Norway, and was instrumental in the founding of Solveig Lodge in Burien, her home lodge. She was Honorary Marshall for the Seventeenth of May Parade in Ballard in 2001, and served as a judge on the reviewing stand. She walked in the parade annually until 2009. Called the Syttende Mai Parade, it commemorates Norway's Constitution Day.
On the second floor of her house you would find a basket of wool, a pair of carders, a blue spinning wheel, and a large loom parked in the corner sporting a Norwegian rug in progress. Her handmade results were also displayed, sweaters, socks, dolls, "selbuvotter"- patterned mittens, and a large collection of rosemalt bowls. She also made lefse, but with an oven, not a loom.
She is survived by her loving husband Jim and his children: son David Durham and his wife Cheryl, daughter Karen Caldwell, and their children; and her family in Norway: her niece Marny, five other nieces and nephews, and 11 grandnieces and grandnephews.
Memorial donations may be made to Leif Erikson Lodge Educational Foundation, or to the Salvation Army.