When she wasn't taking her daily two-mile walk near her home or meeting with friends from her sewing club, you might catch Ruth Hamill playing a game of tennis or volunteering with Meals on Wheels. But when she received invitations to the Salk Institute over the years, she wouldn't pass up the chance to hear presentations on scientific research, yet another one of her longtime interests.
"I invited her to come hear a scientist speak at one of Salk's events in the 1990s because I knew she was interested in biomedical issues and research in general," said Ruth's friend and attorney for nearly 20 years Richard Muscio, who previously served on Salk's Planned Giving Advisory Committee.
"After that first meeting, she just fell in love with the place," he said. "Ruth loved hearing new ideas. She was just fascinated by the depth and breadth of knowledge and the creativity of Salk's researchers."
The science of cognition was of particular interest to Ruth, more so after her husband, King, developed Alzheimer's disease and passed away in 2006. The couple supported Salk research as members of the President's Club and eventually decided to include the Institute in their estate plan, which resulted in a $250,800 unrestricted contribution when Ruth passed away in March.
Ruth is survived by her two sons, Rick and Dean, who are very supportive of their parents' philanthropic endeavors, Muscio said.