The Minnesota Chapter remembers friend and colleague, Ruth Swenson.
Ruth Swenson, born Mary Ruth Shillington, was born in Camperdown, Victoria, Australia on May 8, 1950. Her father was a banker and she lived in small towns growing up. She went to the University of Melbourne and graduated with a BA in education. She taught French, English, and history at the high schools in Kaniva and Mildura, both in Victoria.
After marrying David Swenson, she moved to Minnesota and had a varied career. At Control Data Institute she became a computer programmer and subsequently worked at several companies such as Comten and Cytrol . She also did technological writing for a few years before getting involved with companies which provide services to the library community. At Teltech, she worked with their expert network, and then ran their current awareness service. At Dialog she provided customer training, and was respected and loved by her clients, who appreciated her knowledge of her products and her caring personality. She is greatly missed by those who worked with her.
I’ll never forget Ruth’s warmth and kindness when I became unemployed shortly after 9/11. She let me sit in on some Dialog training sessions at St. Kate’s in order to keep my skills (and morale) up. She also made insightful suggestions about job-hunting during a challenging time. Ruth was also one of the most kind and skilled instructors I’ve ever known. She will always be remembered with fondness by those who knew her.
Carlson Information Center
My memories of Ruth are very simply of her cute accent, smile, and genuine personality. I loved to hear her talk, just to listen to her.....it made me smile. Once Dialog was giving out pens to people, and Ruth thought they were very "jazzy", such a cute word that was totally her. She had a great sense of humor, a great sense of herself, and was just simply a wonderful person. I keep her picture posted in my cube, the one where she & her husband are together. She had such a strong spirit, it reminds me to think of her every day. What a neat lady, I will miss her immensely.
The term I'd use for Ruth is "charming." She charmed us with warmth and wit whether teaching, marketing, networking, or just hanging out. My most frequently recurring memory of her is at an SLA program when she'd lost her hair and was sporting a new headscarf. She impishly modeled it as if it were the latest couture design. I'll never forget the twinkle in her eyes.
Always open about her cancer, she graciously allowed us to observe her attitude toward living and dying. I learned so much from Ruth, and I miss her!
Emerson Process Management
I feel extremely fortunate to have known Ruth and to have had her as a friend. She was a kind, considerate, soft spoken person that anyone could have felt at home with. Like most people in the Minnesota Chapter, I first met Ruth when I took a Dialog course way back when. Later she started coming into Land O’Lakes to help with Dialog Select training and covering anything new with me that Dialog had to offer.
I really got to know her when she helped me with a big monthly report that I was asked to do for some of the executives at Land O’Lakes. I am sure anyone that was in the area during that time wondered if we were really working. We had a habit of laughing a lot at our mistakes and the sometimes crazy results we were producing.
I always looked forward to Ruth’s visits because I knew the time spent would be fruitful and fun. Sometime along the way, we planned her visits so we could fit lunch in or occasionally we would meet for dinner. We made time for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.
Even when Ruth became ill again, we fit the special things in. She always made time for me, even if it was just a simple hello by email. Ruth inspired me by her warmth, her charm and the grace in which she handled her illness. I miss her terribly, her sympathetic voice, her laugh, her humor and wit. She is missed by so many. She was a special person.
Land O'Lakes, Inc.
I will always remember Ruth as a gentle, kind, soft-spoken person with a twinkle in her eye and a quick wit. Ruth was capable and smart and made for a supportive colleague, a sincere friend and a patient teacher. We will miss her in our lives!
In 2000 when I was a new student working in a special library within an insurance company, Ruth graciously came to the library train me on Dialog. I was extremely impressed that a vendor was willing to give a student so much time and attention. However, Ruth was so much more than a vendor representative. I will never forget how patient and helpful she was that day.
As I became more involved with the Minnesota chapter board, I had the pleasure of getting to know Ruth better, as she was part of the membership committee and was one of the friendly faces at the registration table. She had a way of making everyone feel welcome and she genuinely cared about you. Of course, her Aussie accent made her even more charming.
Ruth was a kind and wonderful person with a great spirit and I will truly miss her!