Classmate Biography

Rio Linda Senior High School - Rio Linda, CA - Class of 1971

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Ruth Friedrich Ortiz

Originally written June 18, 2000
Last updated July 16, 2003



Attended USC for 4 years. Graduated in 1976 with a B.S. degree. Came home to Sac State to earn Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential. Went to George Peabody Teachers College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1977 to attend training for Peace Corps Volunteers sent to Kenya, Africa.

Love Life

Dated quite a bit in college, but never had a boyfriend for longer than three months. I fell in love with Jose, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, who grew up in Chicago, but was originally from Puerto Rico. We met 22 years ago and have been married for 20 years. We have three children: Theresia (20), Tomas (17), and Joseph (15).


Taught high school biology, chemistry, and physics for 3 years in Kenya as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Waitressed for 4 months. Spent 3 summers packing roe for a salmon cannery in Kodiak, Alaska. Taught 7th & 8th grade Math and Science in Chicago for one year. Taught 4th grade for 3 years at St. Joseph's School in North Sacramento. Began and taught preschool in Sudan, Africa. Have taught for the past 14 years in Center Unified School District in Antelope (mostly 4th and 5th grades and Science).


I am still a bookworm. My library card gets good use. Four other teachers and I belong to a book club that meets monthly. I love to travel! In 1973, I spent the summer in Switzerland meeting relatives, working in a knife factory, and traveling all over Europe. Since then, I have visited Switzerland (5 times), Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, France, Greece, Uganda, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica. I have lived in Sudan and Kenya, Africa. Hiking and climbing mountains is another passion of mine. Giswilerstock in the Alps, the Himalayas, the Sierras, Mt. Kenya, Mt. Eldoret, and Denali are some of the places I've hiked to. Spending time with my family takes up most of my time now. My parents still live on Cherry Lane. They seem to be as permanent and deep rooted as the oak trees they are surrounded by. Getting together to clean up after the flooding has become nearly a yearly event since 1986. They have been on the local and national news countless times due to the flooding with no movie offers yet. My six sisters and brother all live in Northern California. We love to get together for birthdays, holidays. baptisms, marriages, and any excuse for an occasion to celebrate. We make an annual weekend visit to San Francisco, our favorite city.


First college graduate in my family. I marched in the 1973 Rose Parade in USC's marching band as a flag girl. I was the flag girl who marched the opposite way in the Thanksgiving game against Notre Dame. Visiting my parents homeland of Switzerland was wonderful. Living in Kenya as a Peace Corps Volunteer was a dream of mine since Mr. Potter's 4th grade class when we had penpals in Borneo. I kissed the ground when I returned from Sudan with our 3 children in 1989, glad to have survived a true hell on earth. Two years ago, two cancerous lumps were found in my right breast and two cancerous lymph nodes. Perhaps there is more for me to accomplish in this life since I am still here and looking forward to seeing many of you at the reunion.


We bought a small home in Carmichael in 1990 after our return from living and working abroad. After the kids have grown up and flown the coop, Jose and I hope to return to working overseas.
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