Ruth Onnalee Presswood Hutchins

By Orleans Hub Posted 2 May 2019 at 3:52 pm

Ruth Hutchins

Ruth Onnalee (Brooks) Presswood Hutchins, of Columbus, Ohio, passed away Wed., April 24, 2019 at age 108.

Ruth was a missionary with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Indonesia (formerly Netherlands East Indies) from 1940 to 1946 with her first husband, Rev. W.E. Presswood. They were interned in separate camps by the Japanese during World War II for over three-and-a-half years, Ruth at Kampili, and Ernie at ParePare on the island of Sulawesi. They both survived the concentration camps only to see Ernie die on Feb. 1, 1946, possibly from pneumonia, after two trips to the interior of Borneo to see how the Dyak believers had made it through the war. During their first trip to the interior after the war, their long canoe upset in the rapids – Ruth barely escaping death from drowning by a porter pulling her by her hair, which came out, and another porter grabbing her arm while balancing on the canoe and holding a pig in the other arm. They made it back to Tarakan, their home base at that time, but Ruth became very sick with dengue fever. Ernie went back to the Boelongan District the second time without Ruth, to meet with the indigenous leaders who were to gather at a time and place arranged during the first trip. He returned to Tarakan the day he said he would, but in a coffin. The Dutch government gave him a 21-gun salute at his funeral, which Ruth was too weak to attend. After Rev. Presswood’s death, Ruth returned to the States, where she later married James S. Hutchins, a widower with three teenage children, on Dec. 31, 1947. Her life centered around family, church, and its activities. She authored two books, “No Sacrifice Too Great” in 1993 and “Growing Up With Eight Brothers” in 2006.

She is preceded in death by her second husband, James, on March 3, 1978; and her brothers, Mahlon, Byron (Winnie, deceased), Harold (JL, deceased), Avery (Louise, deceased), Robert (Zilcie, deceased), Gerald (Jean), and Dean (Delores, deceased) Brooks; and stepchildren, Doris (Stanley, deceased) Gaska, Helen (Lee, deceased) Heisler, and Charles (Jane) Hutchins.

Ruth is survived by her daughter, Martha Jean; and her husband, Larry, with whom she lived for 40 years in Columbus, allowing her to see her two grandchildren, Stephanie (Mike) Kuiken and James (Bethany) Moore, grow to adulthood and marry their spouses. She was blessed with 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. One brother survives her, Keith (Jane, deceased) Brooks, who lives in Middleport; as well as many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Albion Faith Alliance Church, 3305 Oak Orchard Road, Albion NY 14411, on Thu., May 9 at 10:30 a.m. Burial will be at Mt. Albion Cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be sent to First Alliance Church, 3750 West Henderson Road, Columbus OH 43220. Those gifts will be forwarded to the Presswood Bible Seminary in Malinau, Borneo, which is a high school-level seminary that trains students to be pastors in their own villages.