Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Ruth E. Shinn

Ruth E. Shinn

May 30, 1922 - May 1, 2020

Ruth Elizabeth Shinn, age 97, died on May 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 30, 1922. Ruth graduated from Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio in 1944 and from Yale Divinity School in 1955.

In 1945, Ruth was commissioned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a predecessor mission body to Global Ministries, to serve as an English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. During this time Ruth, an avid swimmer, made a memory she would recount fondly over her life, when she swam across the Bosporus Strait from Asia to Europe.

From 1948 until 1969 Ruth served in leadership in the YWCA, including as the vice president of the national board. Ruth also served as the chief of the legislative analysis division of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, where in the 1970s she played a key role in expanding affirmative action requirements for federal contractors. She also was a founding member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, which recruits women to run for political office, and was on the working group for First Lady Hillary Clinton’s health-care task force in 1993.

Ruth was the first woman to serve as moderator of First Congregational United Church of Christ in downtown Washington, DC. Church always remained an important part of Ruth Shinn’s life.

One of her greatest joys in retirement, was entertaining many friends and family at her cottage, El Mirador, on the Chesapeake Bay.

Ruth is survived by three nieces, Sandy Shinn (Ken Sierzega), Carol Wheeler (Bob), and Beth Shinn (Dave Krantz), and by grand- and great-grand nieces and nephews.

A virtual memorial service was held by First Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, DC on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Memorial gifts may be sent to First Congregational UCC, or Emily's List.


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