Cover photo for Ruth Olive Whitehead's Obituary
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1932 Ruth 2023

Ruth Olive Whitehead

June 12, 1932 — April 27, 2023

Ruth Olive Whitehead (née Jensen) was born to missionaries Christian and Ina Jensen on June 12, 1932 in Miango, Nigeria, Africa.  After her mother, Ina, died in 1933, her father, Christian, took Ruth and her two older sisters, Peggy and Helen, to live at Gowan’s Home for Missionary Children in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.

While her dad returned to the mission field, the girls were raised at Gowan’s Home where between 30 to 50 children were being raised. Ruth resided there longer than any other MK (missionary kid.) Eventually, Rachel and Stanton Whitehead came to run Gowan’s Home, bringing their sons Harold and Jim to live with the other MK children. This is where the very meticulous Ruth Jensen met the jovial star athlete Harold Whitehead. The two eventually fell in love. While filling in for the summer as an interim pastor in a small-town church in the woods of Ontario, Hal asked Ruth to marry him. After graduating from Toronto Bible College, they married on June 29, 1954, Rae and Uncle Stan’s anniversary. The couple lived in Toronto where they welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Louise, on January 7, 1956 which coincidentally was also Harold’s 25th birthday. 


Ruth and Harold then moved to San Diego, California in September of 1956 where Ruth could be near her dad and where Hal – no longer Harold – could attend San Diego State University, hoping later to join Mission Aviation Fellowship. Here they started attending Scott Memorial Baptist Church where they became friends with Tim and Bev LaHaye and bonded with a large group of friends, many of those relationships lasting more than half a century. While Hal went to work in the defense industry, Ruth worked at Pacific Telephone where she quickly rose in management but decided to resign when Tim was born in 1962. After raising her family for a decade, Ruth went to work for the San Diego Unified School District, working her way up as she worked in a variety of schools, eventually becoming an Administrative Assistant at Clairemont High School in 1982. During this time Hal and Ruth adopted Dan in 1988, and Ruth retired from work in 1997, allowing her to continue to develop relationships with her children and grandchildren. 


Her many hobbies and passions included serving on many boards and positions at Scott Memorial Baptist Church and Shadow Mountain Church. At home she was passionate about gardening and spending time with her grandchildren. Ruth’s love, devotion, and relationship with Jesus always came first in her life, which was evident to all who knew her. Though her work ethic and her ability to lead committees was unparalleled, she will be remembered by friends and family as a Bible scholar and a magnificent prayer warrior. This legacy has been passed down to her children and grandchildren who admired her devotion and are forever changed by her example. Ruth is preceded in death by her husband Hal and by her sisters Peggy Fuller and Helen Gunderman. She is survived by her children Louise (Steve) Komaroski of Billings, Montana, Tim (Stephanie) Whitehead of Escondido, California, Dan Whitehead of San Diego,   and her many grandchildren and her great-grandson.


If you feel led to make a donation in Ruth's name, please consider donating to the Missions Fund at Shadow Mountain Church in El Cajon. As a missionary kid, this was extremely

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