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Posted on October 8, 2015 | 1:42 p.m.

Pearl ‘Ruth’ Bolton of Santa Barbara, 1921-2015:

Source: McDermott-Crockett Mortuary

Ruth Bolton

Pearl Ruth Bolton, who moved to Santa Barbara earlier this year to be near her son and daughter, died Sunday, Oct. 4, at the age of 93.

Ruth, as she was known to family and friends, was born Nov. 24, 1921, in Clarksburg, West Virgina., the daughter of Emma Blanch Buffington and Oren Branch Buffington.

She had an older brother, Ulysses Buffington, and three older half brothers, Harold, Woody and Ellis Westfall.

Ruth was a child of the Great Depression, and she learned early that happiness came not from material wealth, but from the countless family members and friends who filled her life.

She was a remarkably strong woman who always maintained a tremendous optimism. The song lyric, “Life is just a bowl of cherries,” was one she quoted often.

Growing up, she and Ulysses were particularly close, and they remained so until his death in 2008.

After graduating high school, Ruth attended West Virginia Wesleyan College before transferring to West Virginia University to complete her bachelor’s degree.

At WVU, she excelled in dramatic arts, and appeared in many theater productions. That’s also where she met the love of her life, Russell K. Bolton Jr.

Ruth and “Bud,” as he was known, were married March 6, 1944, in Ft. Worth, Texas, shortly before he headed overseas to serve as a B-24 bomber pilot based in Italy.

Upon his return, Bud completed his college degree and earned a law degree, and the couple lived for a time in New York.

They moved to California in 1961 with their two children — Jane and Tom — and settled in the San Fernando Valley.

In addition to being a dedicated homemaker, Ruth was active in local charities, notably the National Charity League. She received a proclamation from the L.A. City Council for spearheading the fundraising for a sheltered workshop for developmentally disabled people.

Ruth and Bud were avid golfers, and greatly enjoyed their travels around the globe. No sooner would they return than they would be planning their next trip.

Ruth was an excellent cook and took pleasure in entertaining family and friends in her home.

She also was an avid reader and wordsmith, who had a constant curiosity about the world around her.

She loved to watch sports with Bud, especially golf and their beloved WVU Mountaineers.

Ruth and Bud retired to Palm Desert, along with many of their friends, and lived at Ironwood Country Club.

They had been married 69 years when Bud passed away in 2013.

Ruth was not a religious person in the traditional sense, but she had a strong spiritual belief that at the core of each person is their soul, and that it needed to be nurtured. 

Ruth moved in April to her new home at the Vista Del Monte retirement community. She passed away at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital of an apparent heart attack.

Ruth is survived by her daughter, Jane Bolton, who lives in Simi Valley, and her son, Tom Bolton, who lives in Goleta and is a partner and executive editor at Noozhawk.

She also is survived by Tom’s wife, Joan Bolton; her grandchildren, Laura Sentgeorge and Timmy Bolton; and several nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Ruth’s life will be held at a later date.

Cremation is planned, with interment next to her beloved Bud at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City.

Memorial donations can be made to the West Virginia University Foundation, P.O. Box 1650, Morgantown, WV 26507-1650, or to any charity benefiting education or the less fortunate.

Arrangements are under the direction of McDermott-Crockett Mortuary in Santa Barbara.


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