Ruth Hultgren, a California educator and children’s advocate and a forceful activist for progressive causes, passed away late last fall in her hometown of Sacramento at the age of 89.

The Sacramento Bee wrote an evocative remembrance of Hultgren, who spent 25 years working in early childhood education as a teacher and administrator in Head Start, the Sacramento public school system and area community colleges. She also organized an important symposium at the state Capitol to lobby for ways to improve conditions for preschool children.

Nuclear abolition was another central cause for Hultgren. She helped found Sacramento Nuclear Weapons Freeze, known today as Peace Action, and she served as president, in which capacity she organized a coalition of 40 advocacy groups to campaign for defense cuts and a state ballot initiative calling for a nuclear arms freeze.

As the Bee described, she was the driving force behind the 1987 August Women’s Peace Event, which brought women together in support of peace and internationalism, and she actively supported her husband’s grass-roots campaign to bring light rail to Sacramento.

When she was 81, she published her first and only book, a memoir about her life experiences titled Looking in the Rearview Mirror. Donations may be made to California Peace Action, 2800 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA 94703.

Photo credit: Lon Hultgren