Ruth Switzer Pearl was born in Dallas, Texas, to Rozella White Switzer and Thomas Marion Switzer. As a child she lived all over the west including Midland, Texas, Medford, Oklahoma and McPherson, Kansas. She spent her adult life in the Washington, DC area.
She graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio in 1958. Following graduation, she worked as a staff member handling constituent mail for Senator Neuberger from Oregon, and then for Senator Gary Hart from Colorado. Ruth joined the civil rights and Vietnam War protest movements, and continued her advocacy as an intern at the Washington Urban League.
She then embarked on a career in education, starting as a volunteer at the Lab School of Washington, an innovative, arts-centered education program that supported students with language-based learning differences. At the same time that she was working and raising three children, she earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education in 1981 from American University. For 13 years she taught at the Lab School and was also the Special Assistant to the Director. Even after retirement in 2005, she continued to tutor students at the school. Following that, she apprenticed and became an expert in antique furniture restoration and picture framing.
She was a self-taught artist, creating beautiful original artworks using found materials, such as antique tools, driftwood and seashells. Every Christmas she would delight her family with carefully chosen, beautifully wrapped unusual gifts and stunning holiday décor, much of it handmade. She loved to walk on the beach, play cards and attend concerts with her dear friends and family.
She is survived by her three children, Natasha (Richard) Stowe, Lisa (Thadeus) Arrington and Thomas Pearl; along with two grandchildren, Clifford Stowe and Simone Arrington; and by her former husband and father of her children, Laurence Pearl.