Readers may remember a post from last year about Ruth Farnsworth, the young Latter-day Saint woman who, with her sister Alene, went to Guam shortly after World War II to earn money to support their younger brother as a missionary. Ruth and Alene were the magnets around whom a substantial branch collected on Guam, and they were the catalysts for a branch project to support a young Mexican missionary serving in his homeland. Alene went home in the fall of 1948, with Ruth scheduled to follow in a few weeks in preparation for her scheduled March 1949 wedding. But on the night of December 11, intruders into the shop where Ruth worked abducted and murdered her.
That post attracted an unusual group of readers intimately connected to the story: a daughter of Alene, a nephew of Ruth and Alene, a sister of of one of the men charged with the murder, a daughter, nephew, and granddaughter of Ruth’s fiance, a member of the search party that found Ruth, and another serviceman who had been on the island at the time. All contributed details to the story.
Michele Spangler, Alene’s daughter, has been especially helpful in filling in some blanks and encouraging a preservation of her aunt’s memory. She shared additional details and corrections with me, the most important of which, I think, are that when Ruth was reported missing, Alene flew back to Guam. She was with Ruth at the end, and contrary to my original source, Michele reports that Ruth “did regain her conscious[ness] just long enough to request a Priesthood blessing, after which she fell back into a peaceful coma, until she passed away.”
And Michele has now furnished two photographs of Ruth and Alene; Ruth is on the right in both photos, and Alene on the left. As you can see by these pictures, Alene also was a member of the Women’s Army Corps, following Ruth into the service after returning from her mission to Mexico.
Thanks for putting faces with the names of these two extraordinary young women, Michele.