Ruth Killough was born Ruth Alice Coulter, the daughter of Marie and Kent Coulter, on April 14, 1926, in Maryville, Missouri.
Ruth graduated from Maryville High School in 1944. World War II was in full bloom and so Ruth entered nurses training at Kansas City General Hospital School of Nursing. As a student nurse she was a member of the Cadet Nursing Corps. She received her “cap” in January 1945, graduated in September 1947 and became a registered nurse three months later.
After graduation, Ruth accepted a position with Dr. Clifford Bassett in Cushing. She arrived in Oklahoma by train and was first introduced to 105 temperatures!
Working as a doctor’s nurse Ruth learned many new skills including obstetrics, surgery and giving yearly flu shots to the men at Deep Rock Refinery.
In 1950, Ruth married Don Killough and moved to Midwest City. They had three children David, Don Jr. (now deceased) and Janie. Ruth worked at the University Hospital in Oklahoma City and Don worked at Tinker Air Force Base.
In 1959, Ruth accepted a position as instructor at Oklahoma City Vocational School of Practical Nursing. In 1965, Ruth started the LPN program for seniors in high school at Mid-Del Area Vocational Technical School (now Mid-Del Technology Center). Eighteen students graduated from the first class and all passed the state board test.
Ruth returned to college to get her degree and teaching certificate in 1965. She attended night school, while teaching during the day, and graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) in 1974. Two years later she received a master’s degree.
Ruth was active in CareerTech professional organizations, serving as president of the health occupations division, and on the search committee for the first executive director of the Oklahoma Vocational Association. She also served as treasurer of the OVA administrative council, was selected as Outstanding Health Occupation Teacher of Oklahoma and AVA’s region IV in 1980 and Outstanding Health Occupations Students Association (HOSA) Advisor in 1985. She also served on the HOSA, Inc. board of directors and chaired the board in 1987.
Ruth officially retired in 1987. She still stays active by administering tests to certify nursing assistants, teaching certification classes for medical assistants and judging events at HOSA leadership conferences. She also enjoys playing golf, when it is not snowing!
Ms. Killough was inducted to the CareerTech Hall of Fame in 2001.