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As a child, she loved reading ?Pollyanna,? the story of an 11-year-old who faced any challenge believing the glass was half full. Her family often referred to Anna Ruth as Pollyanna, because in many ways that?s who she was.
Anna Ruth Shinn, 76, of Columbia, died December 11 as a result of Alzheimer?s disease. Her family will gather in Columbia next month to lovingly remember her as a wife, mother and grandmother.
Born May 11, 1931 in Kirksville, MO, Anna Ruth was the daughter of James A. and Edna Morlan Bailey. On Aug. 5, 1950, in Kirksville, she married Stephen C. Shinn, and he survives.
The family moved to Gladstone, MO, in 1956, where Anna Ruth was a stay-at-home mom to their three children. When the youngest child entered kindergarten, she began substitute teaching. In 1967 the family moved to Columbia, where she completed three degrees from MU, including an Education Specialist degree in 1983. For five years Anna Ruth taught fourth grade in Columbia Public Schools. In 1975 she became a full-time counselor, primarily at Fairview Elementary. She and Steve both retired in 1991.
Anna Ruth received the Ray Lewis Academic Excellence Award, grades 4-6 in 1980, the first year the honor was given. In 1989 The Missouri School Counselor Association named her Outstanding Missouri Elementary Counselor. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, where she had served as a deacon. Anna Ruth was an Endowed Life Member of the Mizzou Alumni Association and a member of the Jefferson Club. She was a regular volunteer at the Wardrobe.
In addition to her husband, Anna Ruth is survived by her children, Eric (Mary Hill) of El Paso, TX; Alan (Chris) of Lubbock, TX; and Amy Elliott (Jim) of Brookfield; seven grandchildren, Emmy Hill, David Hill, Alex Hill, Erin Shinn, Lauren Shinn, Jaime Elliott Freidrichs (Chad), and Jennifer Elliott; brother-in-law David Shinn (Libby) of Kansas City and sister-in-law Sheila Shinn of Blue Springs.
Alzheimer?s is a cruel disease, aptly referred to as the ?Long Goodbye.? For 10 years Anna Ruth was slowly robbed of her memory, her mobility, her very ability to function. The last thing to go was her smile.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Adult Day Connection, 137 Clark Hall, Columbia 65211; and the Alzheimer?s Association, 2400 Bluff Creek Dr., Columbia 65201.