Ruth was born in Fresno, California, and grew up in the Danish community of Bakersfield. In 1944 she married Charles E. Kane (1923–2008), then a cadet and pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces.
The couple had three children: John (1945, d. 1974), Michael (now Bhikshu Dharmamitra, 1948), and Alexis (1953). Charles eventually rose to the level of major.
After Ruth and Charles separated and divorced, Ruth supported and raised their children on her own. She won a full undergraduate scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University, earned a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington, and went on to head the department of social work at Western State Hospital (Lakewood), where she also served as the first supervisor for the hospital’s AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers.
Later on, Ruth
headed the department of counseling and treatment at the Child Study and
Treatment Center (Lakewood), where she met her second husband, Colonel Dale Hoagland
(now deceased), who was director of the center’s operations. She then worked for several
years in the Washington State Department of Social and Human Services (Olympia) before
retiring to become a therapist in private practice.
In her eighties, Ruth
lived for a few years in New Mexico (Truth or Consequences and Santa
Fe), where she met and married Garland Donleavy, with whom she moved to Sebastopol
and Santa Rosa, California. Ruth described Garland as her “prince of a man,” but he died just
seven years after they were married.
After Garland died,
friends in Santa Rosa introduced Ruth to Richard Anstruther, who
became her companion and soul mate for the last years of her life. In Santa Rosa, Ruth was
an active member of the Center for Spiritual Living, studied to be a Practitioner, and
attended Women’s Spirit conferences and writing workshops in the Mendocino Redwoods.
She also became an important participant and mentor in her friend Tess Lorraine’s
seminars in creative aging and dying.
An avid gardener,
chef, and dinner party hostess, Ruth was also a dedicated supporter of
others, young and old, whenever they were in need. As a writer and poet, she found artful language to depict the world around her and the worlds inside her. Perhaps Ruth’s most fitting epitaph is her own description of a friend who seemed always and everywhere at home: “She’s like a river, and the bed widens as she goes.”
Ruth is survived by her son, Bhikshu Dharmamitra (Seattle), and her daughter, Alexis Romana Kane (Seattle); her grandchildren, John Christopher Kane (Hobart, Tasmania), Carrie Kane Powell (Smyrna, Georgia), Miles C. Kane and Katy Spaulding (Portland, Oregon), and Adam Gabriel Kane (Seattle); her great-grandchildren, Melissa Kane (Hiram, Georgia) and John Kane (Bogotá, Columbia); and her great-great-grandchildren, Donovan Kane (Hiram), Elijah and Cameron Kane (Bogotá).
Ruth’s other beloveds include Sharon Bybee Kane (Marietta, Georgia); her close friends Effie Ehrhart (Santa Rosa), Tess Lorraine (now in Boulder, Colorado), Richard Anstruther (Bellingham, Washington), Pamm Hanson(Seattle), and X. P. Callahan (Las Cruces, New Mexico); and fellow writers, poets, and Center for Spiritual Living friends Janet Tobin, Julia Vose McClung, Robin Zolotoff, and Denise Miney (all in Santa Rosa). Her loving and distinguished canine companions over the years were Skoshi, Oliver, Lincoln, and Dorje.