Ruth Farnsworth: A Life of Joy and Generosity

Newspapers throughout the United States repeatedly called 27-year-old Ruth Farnsworth “the prettiest girl on Guam.” They may have been right; the only photograph I have found, a grainy, irreproducible print, shows a young woman with curly hair (reddish, I’m told) piled high on her head, high cheekbones, and full lips, gazing frankly at the camera. She probably looked up from her counter with that same frank gaze as three men entered her souvenir shop on the island of Guam on the evening of Saturday, December 11, 1948.

Ruth was only 5’4″, but the evidence shows she fought like a tiger when the men attacked her. Bobby pins were strewn around the shop; her watch and other jewelry were pulled off in the struggle; the cement floor was scratched where she kicked and wrestled; and part of a fingernail left on the floor showed she had clawed fiercely in her attempt to escape. But she was overpowered and abducted, as John “Red” Arnold, the shop owner, discovered at 8:30 when he drove by and saw the door left wide open but the shop lights out. He immediately called the U.S. Military Police, responsible for law enforcement on the Pacific island that was still under military control following its recapture from Japan during the recent war.

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