Ruth Eleanore (Sutherland) Pulliam
May 10, 1927 – May 2, 2022
Ruth Eleanore Sutherland was born May 10, 1927 in Taxila, India (now Pakistan) to William and Bertha Sutherland, United Presbyterian missionaries assigned to the Northwest Frontier.
Some of Ruth’s most happy memories were camping with her parents in India’s wild Northwest Frontier, while they conducted evangelistic outreach. Ruthie’s older sister, Grace, was her very best friend and they enjoyed many happy times playing together in the tent. When they broke camp and moved to a new village, Ruth loved the excitement of packing up and loading the camels!
Following high school graduation from Woodstock in Landour, India, Ruth and her parents sailed to California, USA, where she attended Stanford University and San Jose State University, majoring in Education. Ruth met Paul Pulliam at an Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship basketball game when a group from Stanford and one from U.C. Berkeley played as rivals. Paul’s first gift to his future wife was a Greek Lexicon.
Ruth married Paul on July 2, 1949 and they moved to Pennsylvania, where Paul became pastor of two small rural churches, one in Irwin and Ardara. During this time they welcomed their first two children: Kerry in 1951 and Eric in 1952. Ruth was naturalized and became a US citizen on December 17, 1951.
Paul and Ruth felt called to work in Pakistan which had been partitioned from India in 1947. In 1952 they were commissioned by the United Presbyterian Church. They served as missionaries in Pakistan from December 1952 until June 1969. During this time they added to their brood: Anne arrived in 1954, Robin in 1957, and Ian in 1964.
In 1969, Paul and Ruth returned to the US, where Paul was called to be Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, San Diego. Ruth and Paul served at this church until Paul’s retirement as Senior Pastor in 1991.
During their time at First Presbyterian Church, Ruth was involved with Women’s Circle, Heartland Fellowship, and taught primary age children. She became Director of Children’s Ministry for a season and instituted the Angel Breakfast as a special event for 3-year-olds and Banner Sunday to honor church members who had passed away. She and Paul indulged their love of international travel by leading tour groups all over the world.
The Pulliam home was always welcoming and always had room for an extra person at the table. Hospitality was Ruth’s joy and there was a constant parade of visitors from all over the world. Her considerable creative talents expressed themselves in the form of beautifully made clothes for her children and quilts for her grandchildren. and many keepsake embroideries.
Paul and Ruth moved into Covenant Living at Mt. Miguel in Spring Valley, CA in 2006 where they enjoyed some wonderful years. On August 25, 2019, Paul, quite unexpectedly, passed away. Ruth, moved into assisted living at Brandel Terrace in November of 2019. After struggling with deteriorating health, Ruth was called home on May 2, 2022 with her three daughters singing her favorite songs by her side. She is survived by her five children: Kerry, Eric, Anne, Robin, and Ian. She was an amazing woman and mother and is greatly missed!