Ruth Metz was born December 27, 1904, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and learned the journalism trade while working as a newspaper reporter for The Sun in Price, Utah. Later, she became manager and news editor for the weekly newspaper, in addition to being the local correspondent for the daily Salt Lake Tribune. During this time, she was secretary for the Chamber of Commerce and was instrumental in promoting her hometown as center of the coal mining industry of Carbon County. She served as president and secretary of the Business and Professional Women’s organization in Price and Helper. In the early 1930s, Ruth and her first husband Samuel Harry Thomas moved to California. They settled in Nevada City, where Samuel worked in the gold mines. Their daughter Shirley and their son Greg were born there. The family moved to Berkeley when World War II began. Ruth’s marriage to Samuel ended in divorce in 1949.
Julian Adams was born January 20, 1919. He had a lifelong passion for journalism, which surfaced at a young age as he developed an interest in writing and printing. He was editor of his junior high and high school newspapers. He attended graduated from the University of California in 1939. He also earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from San Francisco State University. Ruth and Julian were married in 1950.
Julian was a teacher in Richmond, California from 1950 to 1974. He taught reading, English, journalism, mass media, and social studies. He also served as a counselor and helped to develop a program for teaching learning-disabled students. Julian’s love of journalism was reflected in the books he wrote. His first book, Press Time, was a high school journalism text. Press Time was first published in 1963 and the fourth edition was a bestseller. His other books included The Student Journalist, Mass Communication and Freedom, and Ethics in the Press. He was a leader in the national and northern California Journalism Education Associations (JEA). In 1978, JEA honored him with its top award, the Carl Towley Award. The National Scholastic Press Association also presented Julian with the Pioneer Award in 1983.
Ruth was a devoted civic leader. She was instrumental in forming the Berkeley Chapter of the American Field Service and was its local president for three years. Later, she served on the board of directors for the Berkeley-Sakai Sister City organization. Ruth was the driving force in the Mayor’s Christmas Committee, which was in charge of collection and distribution of boxes of food for the needy. She was elected an honorary member of the Berkeley Town Council. She was a devoted member of the Christian Science Church, where she chaired the church’s Architectural Guide Committee and conducted tours of the famous Bernard Maybeck structure. Her love of writing was obvious in the many articles and letters she wrote that pertained to these activities.
Ruth’s special loves were family, writing, music, and traveling. She was an accomplished organist and a member of the San Francisco Guild of Organists. She and Julian did a lot of traveling, and Ruth kept journals of all their trips and wrote letters to family members describing the sites and her experiences.
Ruth died in 1983, and Julian died in 2002. Ruth’s daughter Shirley McDonald and her husband Marv McDonald established the Ruth and Julian Adams Memorial Scholarship Fund as a lasting tribute to her parent’s memory. The fund benefits a Benton County high school students pursuing careers in journalism.
Shirley and Marv have long been active in the Corvallis community. Marv was co-founder and CEO for Benton County Bank until it was sold in 1993. Over the years, he has done community service with numerous organizations, such as Kiwanis, Rotary, United Way, Bonny Enterprises, Benton County Economic Committee, Chamber of Commerce, and the 509J school district.