Ruth Drew

Nov 7, 1917 - Dec 26, 2014


Ruth Marie Madland Drew

Ruth Marie Madland Drew passed away in peace, in the afternoon of December 26, 2014, comforted by her daughter and granddaughter in Emmett, Idaho. Ruth was 97 years old. She was born in Billings, Montana on November 7th, 1917 to Leland Leroy Madland and Mildred Welles Griswold Madland. Ruth was proud of her parents and loved to share stories about her father and his successful career in banking. Throughout her childhood Ruth, her brother Lee and sister Mildred lived in Montana, Minnesota, Washington and northern California.

Always an ardent student, Ruth studied Child Development and Nutrition at Mills College in Oakland, California. In her early twenties she was a professional dancer, studying under one of Martha Graham’s assistants at the Cornish School of Dance in Seattle, Washington. At 26, she married William Elwood Drew, and was a loving and protective mother to their seven children: Mary, Steven, Eric, Jonathon, Laurie (Killian), Robert, and Diane (Robbins). Ruth was focused on her family and she took great delight in caring for her children. She carefully nursed all seven of her children and made sure they had nutrition based on the latest science of her time. She loved watercolor sketching, sewed clothes for and home schooled her children, teaching them the spiritual principals of the Christian Bible. She also played the piano, sang, and taught them many spiritual songs.

The young Navy family lived at several east coast locations including Boston, Washington, DC, and Annandale, Virginia. While in Virginia, Ruth taught Bible School and modern dance to the Girl Scouts. When the fourth child, Jon, was a toddler, the family moved to Santa Rosa briefly, until William Drew was summoned back to Washington, DC to again serve the Navy during the Korean War.

A few years later they moved to Carlsbad, California and then to San Bernardino, California. In 1956 the family moved to Lodi, California where they lived in a country setting surrounded by vineyards. Ruth gardened there, loved and cared for her active children, and supported them as they became independent and the first four left the family home. The Drew family then moved to Williams, California in 1971. Ruth lived in Williams for many years where she enjoyed her dog Cocoa, her rose garden, and being part of the Williams community. In later years, Ruth lived near her brother Lee and her daughter Laurie in Montana and Idaho. Ruth enjoyed being close to family and participated in many family activities and community events. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband William Drew, her sister Mildred Madland Murdock, and her children Steven Drew and Diane Drew Robbins. She is survived by five of her children, 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and brother Lee Madland.

Ruth was a beautiful woman with a regal smile. She was elegant, modest and loved to look distinguished. She consistently spoke her mind and always enjoyed inquisitive and spirited conversation over coffee, good food, and sweets that she would insist she share with you.
Mother, your family loves you and will be forever grateful for the difficulties you overcame and the sacrifices you made for us. Dance in heaven now, free from struggles, fear and pain. “… He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Services will be held on Friday, January 2 at 2:00 pm at the Chapel at East Lawn Cemetery, 4300 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, California. Public viewing will be 1:30-1:55 pm. Condolences can be expressed at


  • Jeannette Wright says:

    Dear Drew Family, I have wonderful memories of your mom and dad and of the times I was fortunate to be around all of you. Laurie was my best friend at good old Live Oak School. I remember how kind and welcoming your mom was to me. She was an elegant and gracious lady. I especially remember one of the best memories of my childhood: when I got to come on one of your fun beach trips to Santa Cruz. It was the summer of 1969 and I look back at it fondly. Do you remember how we looked for a TV so that we could watch the first man walk on the moon? And it was the first time that I ever body surfed or rode the roller coaster on the boardwalk (with Jon screaming like a girl behind us!) Good, fun times and I thank you all!

    Jeannette (Valla) Wright

  • MaryMDrew says:

    Janette, thanks for this wonderful note. I sent you a note also did you get it?

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