On Sunday, August 23, Area 9 lost one of its best: Ruth Seiwell. Ruth was the current Past Chair of the Area 9 board. Ruth has served on the board since 2006 in various roles: Membership Chair, Treasurer, Chair-elect, Chair, and Past Chair. Her knowledge of Area 9 history has been invaluable, and her leadership, kind approach, vision and never ending passion for handbells have served the area and the art of handbells well through the years.

When I first started serving on the Area 9 board, I learned much from Ruth, not only about Handbell Musicians of America and Area 9, but also about serving and leading a non-profit board. I watched as she led with such a professional and wise manner. I was lucky to be part of the crew that attended Summit 2016, the Area 9 Handbell Cruise that traveled to the Caribbean. At our last board meeting in July, Ruth names the cruise as one of her most joy-filled handbell experiences. Ruth was so excited to plan and lead that event – what fun we had on the high seas!

Michelle Tejada, 2012 Area 9 Board Chair, shared these remembrances:
“Ruth had a profound influence on the art of handbell ringing. She served for years not only for Area 9, but also for Texas Conference Choir Camp, Greater Houston Handbell Association, Houston Bronze, as well as her home church, First UMC, in Lake Jackson. Many ringers benefited from her time spent working on events that she executed flawlessly. She brought wisdom to board meetings, and truly cared about her family, friends, and ringers. Ruth’s passing is a tremendous loss to all her know her, as well as the handbell community.”

Bells are ringing in heaven, as another beautiful soul has joined the heavenly choir of angels. But here on earth Ruth will be greatly missed by ringers, directors, composers, and many friends and family throughout the nation, and, most especially, here in Texas and Oklahoma. Rest in peace, faithful servant and friend.


by Patty Highland, Chair