Skip navigation

Friday February 8, 2013

Ruth Goodman
Led a life of resistance to war, a commitment to the environment and social justice. Her family fled Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century to escape war and anti- Semitism. Ruth grew up in a union household, and in 1940 she married Henry Goodman. She found a job in the shipyards where, as a clerical worker, she was paid $20 a week. When she discovered that welders made $1.25 an hour she joined the wave of women's participation in wartime industrial production. After the war, Ruth and Henry moved to Washington State, where Ruth gave birth to two sons, Michael and Dean. Soon she joined the American Friends Service Committee, organizing annual peace marches, and picketing the Boeing Company in protest of their manufacturing aircraft used in the Vietnam War. In 1966, worried about their sons becoming eligible for the draft in a few years, Ruth and Henry left the United States to settle in Vancouver, Canada. But their anti-war activism didn't stop there. They offered U.S. draft resisters a safe haven in their home, and Ruth volunteered at the War Resisters' support office. But her participation in political campaigns was not confined to international issues. Through her personal experience of two illegal abortions in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Ruth developed a heightened awareness of the importance of a woman's right to reproductive choice, including abortion. Her strong belief in the right to legal and safe access to abortion led her to be among the first volunteers for the Everywoman's Health Centre, an abortion clinic. Ruth's life-long commitment to justice has made her a staunch advocate of the right to Death with Dignity, and she died true to her principles. With the support of her children and a host of devoted friends, at the age of ninety-one on February 2nd, 2013, Ruth chose to end her life. She is survived by Michel Goodman and his partner Sharon Sjerven, Dean Goodman and his wife, Janna Levitt, as well as grandsons, Henry, Eric and Gabriel. To carry on his parents' commitments to justice, Michael Goodman has established the Ruth and Henry Goodman Fund for Social and Economic Justice. Instead of flowers, donations may be made to that organization.

Back to top