her Life

Midland Daily News

Earlier today the Midland Daily News wrote an amazing article and tribute to my mother and if you missed it, I wanted to make sure that you were all able to see it. Not only did Mitchell do an amazing job at capturing her spirit but also took the time to dig through the archives to find old articles and pictures that the newspaper had done over the years. Thank you for showcasing my mother in a way that she deserves and for helping us celebrate her life.

Shared by Tina Van Dam

Tina Van Dam helped supply the following information:

Ruby was a key member of the Steering Committee for the MCFTA historical exhibition VOICES:  Extraordinary Women of Midland County that was displayed from 2011-12 and was selected as an honoree. The page from the book can be viewed by clicking the pdf on the side here. She served on the Sister City Committee for many years, helping primarily with the student exchange with Handa, Japan.  Ruby was also a valued and long-time member of the Midland 100 Club.

Delta College and more shared from Pamela Clark via email

I am including below further information about her life, from Delta College’s perspective.  In July 2006, Ruby was honored by the Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) for her 32 year involvement with Delta College’s public TV station.  She received the prestigious Pioneer Award on July 25, 2006 at the statewide organization’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Retreat.  Following is information from the press release sent out by the College:

Ruby was nominated due to her long term service to Delta College.  Her lifetime contributions to public broadcasting, along with her involvement and service to the community, were recognized by the statewide members of both MAPB and the commercial station members of the MAB organization.  Iwamasa had been nominated by Barry Baker, Delta’s General Manager of Broadcasting. 

“Ruby is the proverbial poster child for education.  Whether she taught in the classroom, from the public TV studio, or face to face with child care providers and parents, Ruby is tireless and dedicated to learning, “said Baker, “Ruby’s dedication to Delta College Public Broadcasting will never be forgotten.  Ruby is not retired from public television, only on a short break”.

Having moved to Midland, Michigan in 1967, Ruby became an advocate, teacher and administrator in the cooperative pre-school movement while raising her three sons.  She taught at St. John’s Episcopal Cooperative Nursery School and the Beehive Nursery School, both in Midland.  She served as a teacher-consultant to area Kinder-Kare Preschool Centers, and also as President of the Mid-Michigan Council of Cooperative Nursery Schools and the Mid-Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children. 

As a preschool teacher, Ruby discovered a passion for public broadcasting and eventually became a volunteer at Delta College’s WUCM-TV, Channel 19 (current call letters WDCQ-TV) for 12 years.  In 1983, Ruby officially joined the Delta College staff and over the years has been involved in most all aspects of the station, including interim General Manager.

Ruby volunteered on WUCM Channel 19’s first auction in 1971, and participated in all 17 years of this annual on-air fundraiser for the station.  She worked as an auctioneer, emcee, and Midland County Chair.  She also worked as a Producer on the public affairs program “Day By Day” with host Andy Rapp.  Ruby was a recipient of WUCM’s highest honor given to a station volunteer when she received the “Orthy Award” in the 1980s.

In September of 2003, Ruby retired from Delta College Quality Public Broadcasting to prepare for her role as District 6310 Rotary Centennial Governor, which began July 1, 2004.  Before retirement, she served as Assistant to the General Manager as well as Manager of Educational Services and Outreach.  In that role, she established partnerships with teachers, parents and community organizations to fulfill the educational mission of the station.  Through various initiatives, such as the PBS Ready To Learn Service, she championed the educational uses of public television programming while nurturing the love of learning and literacy in all ages. 

In 2003, Ruby received the Outstanding Hispanic Advocate award from Delta College’s Multicultural Services Division.  This award recognized the long-standing partnership that was established between the Summer Migrant Programs, the volunteer readers/mentors from Delta’s Hispanic community and Q-TV/PBS Ready To Learn.  Ruby also returned to Delta Broadcasting from 2003 to 2005 to continue her work in education as a Ready To Learn Specialist on a part-time basis.

Ruby is a member of the Rotary Club of Midland, is an Alumni of the Midland Leadership program (class of 1991), and is currently assisting to raise funds to help build and open the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum in Saginaw.  In February 1997, the Delta College Board of Trustees honored Ruby for her “service to Delta College and the community it serves” through a special resolution and proclamation.

Ruby Iwamasa received her Associate of Arts degree from Hartnell Junior College in Salinas, California and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, with a minor in Speech Correction, from San Jose State College.  She has taught in California, Maryland and Michigan.  Ruby is married to Robert Iwamasa who is retired from the Dow Chemical Company.  They have three grown sons, Kenneth, Jonathan and Andrew.

I have added a number of photos of Ruby to the memorial website, so feel free to take a look.  They were taken during her many years at Delta College Public Broadcasting.  One of her funniest stories was about “the day I thought I’d get fired from Delta College!”  As she told it, there was a dedication of the new WUCX TV-35 transmitter in Ubly, back in 1986.  President Don Carlyon would be attending, along with Betty and many others.  Ruby hired a lion tamer to bring along a live lion, as a surprise for Don, since it was part of his family crest.  Long story short…. “once the lion bit down on Don’s cowboy boots, I knew it may not have been a good idea!”  Oh, to hear her tell the story though, she had everyone laughing.  And luckily, Don’s foot was saved by those ever present boots.

On a personal level, I don’t believe Ruby had a negative bone in her body.  She was always positive, bubbly and gave a smile to all.  She will truly be missed by everyone who knew her.