Ruth Hinkle Brunner -- Dec. 13, 1919 — Aug. 6, 2012
Sep 20, 2012 | 2203 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A memorial service will be Sept. 29 in San Francisco for a Scotts Valley woman who was a pioneer for women’s rights in athletics.

Ruth Hinkle Brunner, 92, died peacefully surrounded by family at her daughter’s home in San Anselmo. She had dual residence in Scotts Valley and San Anselmo during the last six years of her life.

The West Virginia native also lived in San Francisco; Huntington Beach; Oberlin, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Boston; and Tokyo.

Mrs. Brunner received degrees from Harvard University, George Washington University and University of Southern California.

As professor and chairwoman of the women’s physical education department from 1965 to 1985 at Oberlin College in Ohio, Mrs. Brunner worked to achieve equal rights for women in education. 

According to her family, she was a stabilizing force at Oberlin through turbulent years of radical leadership as civil rights for blacks and women were established in the country. Oberlin was the first college founded in the United States as both co-educational and co-racial. These developments helped lead to the creation of Title IX in 1972. 

She was head of the physical education department when the school was censured by the Ohio Athletic Conference because its women’s cross country team ran in a meet that was reserved for men. 

Relatives said Mrs. Brunner was a proponent of a fully-integrated educated person, body, mind and spirit, seeking to create scholar athletes and encourage nonathletic intellectuals and musicians to take part in innovative courses such as “body awareness.”

Before joining the Oberlin faculty, Mrs. Brunner held tenured positions at San Francisco State and Long Beach State universities.

She is survived by her daughters, Mary Brunner Blessing of Scotts Valley and Ann Brunner Sangervasi of San Anselmo; sons, William G.W. Brunner of San Francisco and Robert G. Brunner of San Anselmo; sister, Katy Hinkle Seymour of Columbus, Texas; nine grandchildren; and eight nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, John Richard Brunner Sr.; son, John Richard Brunner Jr.; parents, Millard Hinkle and Bessie Shaver Hinkle; and brother, Glenn Hinkle.

A celebration of Mrs. Brunner’s life with Holy Communion will begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 29 at Grace Cathedral, 1100 Taylor St., in San Francisco. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, a gift in Mrs. Brunner’s name may be made to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 5271 Scotts Valley Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 95066, where Mrs. Brunner worshipped. Memorial contributions may also be sent to Oberlin College, 50 W. Lorain St., Oberlin, OH, 44074. For information: pastor Mary Blessing, 438-4360.

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