- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2005

Ruth Richardson, 107, World War I veteran

CALLAO, Va. (AP) — Ruth Stevens Richardson, among the nation’s oldest surviving World War I veterans, died Dec. 29. She was 107.

Mrs. Richardson was 21 when she and a friend went to look for work in Washington, D.C. On their first day in town, the pair saw a poster that read, “Join the Navy and see the world!”

They joined the Navy that day, Sept. 9, 1918.

After basic training, Mrs. Richardson was sent to the Navy Department in Washington to work as a yeomanette, delivering messages around the department, said her son, William M. Stevens Jr. of Mount Airy, Md. Her active service lasted at least until July 31, 1919.

Family lore has it that Mrs. Richardson re-enlisted in 1919, and Mr. Stevens said his mother’s discharge papers include the 1919 date and another date in 1920.

“She was always real proud of her service,” said Thomas A. Williams, a Callao lawyer who started researching Northumberland County’s World War I veterans several decades ago.

After her discharge, Mrs. Richardson stayed with the Navy Department and retired in 1956. She worked for the Navy for 38 years, including her active duty.

Myrtle Dawson, the friend who enlisted with Mrs. Richardson, also stayed on.

“We landed in the Navy Department, and there we stayed until we retired,” Mrs. Richardson told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2002.

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