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Obituary: Ruth Cory Pritchard was advocate for women, children

By Ted Bell -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 5:30 a.m. PDT Tuesday, March 12, 2002

Ruth Cory Pritchard, a longtime fixture in Sacramento's public relations community, died Friday from the effects of lung cancer at Kaiser Permanente in south Sacramento at age 77.

Friends and colleagues described Mrs. Pritchard, once a writer in Gov. Ronald Reagan's office and a communications specialist for numerous agencies and lobbying groups, as an advocate for women's and children's rights.

She was editor and publisher of the "Pocket Directory of the California Legislature" and founded the publishing companies Capitol Enquiry, Creative Editions and Cougar Press.

Born Ruth Marian Cory in Sidney, Ohio, Mrs. Pritchard attended Sinclair Community College in Dayton and the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. She worked at the Dayton Journal-Herald during World War II.

After the war, she married Donald Campbell. They lived in Cincinnati for the next 10 years and had two children. The family moved to Pittsburgh, Pa. She briefly edited a small newspaper and worked in the infant industry of television as a writer and interviewer.

She was divorced in 1965 and moved to Chicago where she became an editor with textbook publisher Scott Foresman. In June 1970 she moved to Sacramento to work as a writer in Reagan's office.

In 1971 she married Alan Pritchard, a Bee editor and columnist and a former high school sweetheart. He died in 1996.

She worked as a lobbyist for the League of Women Voters and then as public relations director for the California School Boards Association before, in 1978, devoting most of her time to her publishing endeavors. She served as a consultant and trainer for the state Department of Education under Wilson Riles.

Mrs. Pritchard founded the Sacramento chapter of the National Women's Caucus and was campaign chair for Suzanne Paris, the first female state Senate candidate. While the campaign didn't succeed, she wrote and published a book on the experience titled "Getting Her Elected."

"She managed, in an era when women were beginning to find a role at work and then finding a conflict between home and work, to have a rich family life and a career," recalled friend Karen Humphrey.

"And she did it with such grace," said Humphrey. "She was a tremendous role model for women's political involvement. I don't recall her ever speaking ill of anyone ... even people who treated her less than nicely."

Mrs. Pritchard is survived by her daughter, Kathleen Cory Campbell, of Dana Point, and her son, Bruce Haywick Campbell, of Solon, Ohio.

A celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N St., in Sacramento.

About the Writer

The Bee's Ted Bell can be reached at (916) 321-1071 or .

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