Isabel Keesling Clark
is honored with a from Keren R. Keesling, Tom Clark, Dan Clark
Ruth Sharp Keesling graduated from Wichita University in 1936. She is sharing a brick with her classmate, close friend, and sister-in-law, Isabel Keesling Clark.
Ruth was born February 24, 1915 in Caldwell, Kansas. She is the youngest child of Olive and Carl Sharp. Her sister, Frances Evelyn Sharp, graduated from Wichita University in the class of 1933. Ruth graduated from Caldwell High School receiving the coveted activities medal One of her many activities was playing forward on the girls basketball team. Ruth enrolled at WU in the Fall of 1932 with a goal of earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. During the first three years of college, she worked at various jobs in addition to her student activities.
Elected to serve as Vice President of the Student Council during her senior year, she became the first woman President of the Student Council when the President resigned. The 1936 Parnassus states: “Under Miss Sharp’s able direction the Council finished the work outline for it earlier in the year.” This was not surprising as Ruth had served as President of the pep club, the rifle club and her sorority, Epsilon Kappa Rho, all during her junior year. She was also on the rifle team, active in the Y.W.C.A. and the Women’s Athletic Association.
After graduation, Ruth served a secretary to the president of a wholesale dry goods and manufacturing company. Later, she worked for the Chamber of Commerce in Wichita. During the war, she went back to work for her first boss who was stationed with the Army Air Force Midwestern Procurement District.
In 1938, she married her friend, Isable Keesling’s brother, Paul, who had graduated from Wichita University in Business Administration in 1933. Ruth and Paul had a daughter in 1946 name Karen. Ruth was an active troop leader during Brownies, Intermediates, and Senior Scouts. She took her Mariner Troop to Canada on a canoe trip before their senior year in high school. In 1961, the Wichita Girl Scout Council presented her the Thanks Badge (the highest award given a Girl Scout Volunteer).
Ruth and Paul were active members of Plymouth Congregational Church in Wichita.
With Karen off to college, Ruth went back to work first at King Van Lines on the Leasing Desk. Then she went to work for a Life Insurance Salesman who was a C.L.U. Later, she became the Office Manager at John Hancock Life Insurance. During her time at John Hancock she took the LOMA courses and passed the exams and got her license as a life insurance agent.
After retirement, Ruth again became active in the Junior Girls Golf Program at Crestview Country Club and was on the Kansas Women’s Golf Association Board in charge of the Junior Girls Golf for the state.
In 1976, Ruth and Paul moved to Sun City, Arizona. Ruth immediately became active in organizing a new P.E.O. chapter as she had been a member of Chapter EM in Wichita. In 1977, Chapter BY of Sun City was chartered and Ruth became it’s charter President. She was later President again in 1982.
Ruth was also active with the Willowcreek Women’s Golf Association which was founded in 1975. Having served on the Board for several years, she became President in 1986. Her greatest golfing thrills were to have three holes-in-one after moving to Sun City.
In Sun City, Ruth and Paul lived in a condominium. She served several years as Treasurer and a member of the Board. During this time she took up needlepoint and decorated their home with her needlepoint pictures.
Ruth was a much loved wife, mother, sister, sister-in-law and aunt. She was a well respected leader throughout her life. She died in 1997 at the age of 82. Ruth’s sister, Frances Evelyn Sharp, is also honored in the Plaza of Heroines.