Ruth (Brinkman) Boyd ’64

18 July 2016

Class: 1964

Major: English

Residence: Needham, MA

Deceased: July 15, 2016

The first in her immediate family to attend college, Ruth came to Carleton from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and was one of 10 freshman women who lived on third Gridley North freshman year. She roomed with Ann Bradley, and is remembered by Sue (Lange) Lewis, one of the other third Gridley North frosh, for her wry sense of humor.
After flirting with majoring in psychology, Ruth opted for an English major, which opened the door for multiple positions in the Boston area over 40 years tied to writing and analytical skills acquired as an English major. She considered herself fortunate to have Owen Jenkins for her Freshman English course and a number of other courses that helped prepare her for her long career and her ability to acquire new skills over the years, including in the computer field. She was known for her remarkable ability to write manuals and reports in plain, clear English.
Following Carleton, Ruth received a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Chicago in anticipation of a career teaching English in high school, but when she journeyed to Cornell with then husband John Boyd (‘63), she decided high school teaching was not for her and successfully obtained a PhD in English. While at Cornell, Ruth joined Doug Wade and Fips Braendel in a mini class of ’64 club whose members, according to Doug, were undaunted by Ithaca winters, having survived rugged Minnesota winters in Northfield.
A lifelong lover of music, Ruth sang in the choirs of Boston area Unitarian churches during her 37 years of membership. Ruth died on July 15, 2016. She was survived by her son, Jason.

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  • 2016-07-19 14:06:21
    Jim O'Brien '63

    This obituary for Ruth Brinkman Boyd was printed in the Boston Globe July 17:

    BOYD, Ruth Ann (Brinkman) Of Needham, July 15, 2016, at age 73. Survived by her son, Jason W. Boyd, and many friends, drawn by her warmth, loyalty, and keen sense of humor. Born in 1942 to Francis and Marjorie Brinkman of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she was the first in her immediate family to attend college. Ruth achieved academic degrees from Carleton College (B.A., 1964) and Cornell University (Ph.D., 1978). Over a forty-year period she held responsible positions for a range of employers including Harvard University (answering correspondence to President Derek Bok), the American Red Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Digital Equipment Corporation, Lotus Development Corporation, and IBM. She kept abreast of developments in the computer field and had a remarkable ability to write manuals and reports in plain, clear English. She was an active Unitarian as a 22-year member of Follen Community Church in Lexington and then, over the past 15 years, of the First Unitarian Society in Newton. A lifelong lover of music, she sang in the choir of each of these churches. A memorial service is being planned for a later date. For online guestbook George F. Doherty & Sons Needham 781 444 0687 - See more at:

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