Ruth Anderson Travis dies at 101, oldest Kent Roosevelt graduate

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Ruth Anderson Travis, who was believed to be the oldest surviving graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, died March 19, 2013. She was 101 years old.

Born in 1911, Mrs. Travis was the daughter of Ben Anderson, who moved his family from Alabama to Kent in 1923. Anderson was the first African-American elected to Kent City Council. He served during the 1950s and 1960s and was designated "councilman emeritus" after he left office in 1973.

Mrs. Travis attended Kent City Schools and graduated from Roosevelt in 1932. She was a star basketball and track athlete at Roosevelt. After graduating, she attended Wilberforce University and graduated in 1937 with a degree in physical education. Following her college graduation, she married Ruther "Rudy" Travis and moved to Akron.

She and her father were both known for their commitment to public service. Mrs. Travis was the founder and a member of the sick and shut-in committee at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Akron, and a member of the church's improvement committee, among other charitable organizations.

Mrs. Travis worked for the Ohio Bureau of Employment for 30 years.

She visited Kent City Council chambers in 2007 after a chance encounter with a Kent resident who told her a photo of her father was hanging in Kent's city hall. She met City Manager Dave Ruller.

"Ruth (was) amazingly sprite for 95 years young," Ruller wrote in a blog following their encounter. "I never would have guessed her age. She had never seen the picture before and she didn't even know it existed. You could tell that it meant a lot to her to see the photo still hanging today, some 35 years after his last term."

Services for Mrs. Travis were held Tuesday. She is survived by her son, William, and other relatives.

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