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Ruth Vandell

October 28, 2020


Ruth Athalie Vandell was born December 21, 1918, to George and Verna Stirling on Staten Island, NY. She passed away peacefully at home in Ponca City, OK on October 28, 2020, less than two months short of her 102nd birthday.She graduated from Curtis High School on Staten Island in 1936 and worked at Home Insurance Company in New York from 1939 to 1942. Ruth took pilot lessons as a teenager and got her private license when she turned 21. She was one of a few female pilots in the Aero-Division of the Staten Island U.S. Power Squadron.Ruth worked as a TWA flight attendant from 1943-1946. She flew domestic routes during World War II and then switched to international flights to Ireland, Iceland, England, France, Spain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and more. She met numerous celebrities as a flight attendant and appeared with them in TWA promotional photos.She worked for American Marine Underwriters, Inc from 1951-1985 and retired as vice-president. In addition to working full-time, Ruth also sewed dresses for herself and daughters, helped care for her daughters’ ponies, and later provided in-home care for her mother. Ruth married the late Kenneth I. Vandell on December 6, 1946 on Long Island, New York. They later relocated by sailboat to Florida where they raised two daughters, the late Lynn Vandell and Terry Vandell. Following her husband’s death after 67 years of marriage, Ruth moved to Ponca City, OK to live with Terry and son-in-law David Bell.Ruth is also survived by her sister-in-law, Josephine, a nephew, Arthur, and two nieces, Carol and Suzanne on Staten Island, as well as her biological granddaughter Laura and family.Her daughter wishes to thank the staff of Hospice of North Central Oklahoma for their excellent support, Ruth’s caregivers, in particular, Pat, Dawn, and Amber, and the family’s good friend, Dan.Arrangements are under the direction of Grace Memorial Chapel in Ponca City. A memorial service will be held in Florida at a later date. Condolences are welcome, but family friends are encouraged to donate to charities of their choice in lieu of flowers.

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