A family farewell

If you’re lucky, during your lifetime you’ll get to work at least one company that feels as much like family as it does business. For me, SN&R has long been that place.

Earlier this month SN&R lost a family member. Ruth Y. Ellison died January 5 from complications of multiple sclerosis.

Ellison, a reporter, worked at News & Review in the mid-’90s. She had previously also worked at the Sacramento Observer, a local publication that focuses on African-American issues.

Ruth and I worked together for a few years. I didn’t know her very well—in the newsroom she was quiet and reserved; outside, she stayed busy with family.

Still, I remember her with admiration. At a time when the rest of the editorial staff was so very young and green, Ruth exhibited poise and professionalism. She was kind and helpful and, sometimes if you had the chance to talk with her long enough, funny, too.

I’ve thought about Ruth over the years, remembering her smart, thoughtful, coverage on topics as disparate as the O.J. Simpson trial, the cultural intersection between beauty standards and black women’s hair, and local civil-rights history.

Ruth left SN&R to pursue a master’s degree in journalism but her increasingly declining health, which led to the MS diagnosis, eventually cut that short.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Ruth on what would have been her 51st birthday, January 30, at noon at Mt. Olive Church, 920 Los Robles in Sacramento. All are welcome.

Her loss is felt, deeply, by those of us who remember her spirit and intelligence.