Ruth Dearing Beliles, born March 11, 1929, in Urbana, Ill., passed away peacefully on November 24, 2020.
Ruth A. Beliles
Ruth Dearing Beliles, born March 11, 1929, in Urbana, Ill., passed away peacefully on Nov. 24, 2020.
Ruth was valedictorian of her Urbana High School class. She won a full scholastic scholarship to the University of Illinois. There, she joined and has been a lifelong member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority.
Graduating in 1951, Ruth found employment on her hometown daily newspaper, The Urbana Courier, as assistant society editor.
That is where she met and eventually married her husband of 67 years, David A. Beliles, who, at the time was working in the Courier’s circulation department. The family joke is that Ruth took David “out of circulation.”
Shortly after marriage, she moved with her husband over the next 30 years to Independence, Mo., York, Neb., Arkansas City, Kan., Hannibal, Mo., and Grand Island, Neb., where David served as editor and publisher of the local newspapers.
After Ruth’s two children entered high school, she renewed her teaching certificate and taught English to college-bound seniors. She earned her master’s degree and completed graduate work at Wichita State University. While she lived in Grand Island, she was an adjunct professor at Kearney State College (now University of Nebraska at Kearney) and taught freshman English for nine years.
Also during those years, she worked part-time whenever needed on her husband’s newspapers, bringing her background in usage and grammar to proofreading and copyediting.
She was a voracious reader of books, newspapers and magazines. She liked word puzzles, particularly the Los Angeles Times crossword and other newspaper word games.
“She was a voracious reader of books, newspapers and magazines. She liked word puzzles, particularly the Los Angeles Times crossword and other newspaper word games.”
Ruth and David’s daughter, Lisa, lives on Longboat Key and followed in her father’s footsteps, becoming the third generation in the newspaper business. She met her husband, Matt Walsh, while in journalism school at the University of Missouri. In 1995, Matt & Lisa Walsh along with David and Ruth acquired the Longboat Observer.
For many years after that, Ruth served as a copy editor and proofreader of the Longboat Observer without pay. She frequently instructed staff members about proper usage of the comma. They framed a big comma and presented it to her, naming her the “Comma Queen.”
Ruth and David’s son, Buck, followed his mother’s footsteps. After earning his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, he became a professor of English and taught at a college in Vermont.
Ruth and David have lived at Plymouth Harbor since 2010.
Ruth is survived by her husband, David; daughter Lisa (Matt); son Buck; and has four grandchildren — Emily Walsh, a fourth-generation newspaper publisher; Kate Honea, principal dancer and assistant ballet mistress with the Sarasota Ballet; Brian Walsh, a major with the U.S. Marine Corps in Virginia; Jessica Beliles, a graduate of Smith College and an editor and dance instructor. Ruth has three great-grandchildren — Rhys Parry, 10; Maeve Walsh, 3; and Jackson Walsh, 4 months.
Ruth was a member of All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church on Longboat Key for 25 years.
A small family service will be held in late January 2021 at All Angels Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
University of Illinois, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
702 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801
All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church
563 Bay Isles Rd.
Longboat Key, FL 34228
Plymouth Harbor Foundation
700 John Ringling Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34236