Ginger Ruth Timberlake


Dec. 30, 2020 — While she worked for the phone company, a neighbor of Ginger Ruth Timberlake who knew where she worked started hanging up and calling her in the wee hours of the morning in a battle over their dog pooping in her yard.

Of course, Ginger put a trace on her own line and ended up winning that war. She laughed at the craziness of it and said, “If I had to get up to answer those calls, they have to get up to make them!”

She was a fighter.

If not the first, Ginger was one of the first women given a “man’s job” in the switching system frames of AT&T by lobbying for it with numerous  letters to management while working as an operator. 

At the time, men were making twice what women made. She eventually ran her own telephone office in Belfair, Wash., before relocating to Oregon and assisting in the changeover from mechanical switching to computerized before retirement.

During the Korean War, she served in the U.S. Navy as an instructor on link trainers teaching navigation to pilots who had to make it across the Pacific Ocean without the aid of today’s GPS system. She also held a job for a time operating the world’s first glass elevator outside the El Cortez Hotel in San Diego. 

Ginger was an only child who spent some of her formative years in a cabin that her father shingled with cedar in the woods behind Humbug Mountain near Port Orford; she always thought of the Oregon Coast as home.

She was also an artist who studied at Ohio University and then also took woodworking at the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts after retiring. She expressed herself in sewing, quilting, gardening, beading, woodworking, photography, her exquisite handwriting and in many others way.

Two-and-a-half years ago, dementia made Ginger’s world a confusing place. Her daughter and son-in-law moved in with her to take care of the things she couldn’t anymore — but she continued to laugh, find joy in her garden and cuddle with her kitty.

Ginger died peacefully in her home of complications following a heart attack she didn’t know she had shortly after her 88th birthday. She is survived by a ton of cousins in Coos Bay; her son, Eric Timberlake; daughter Tanya Timberlake and husband Rick Beale; all of Florence.

The family appreciates any remembrances be donations to either Oregon Public Broadcasting or the Oregon Coast Humane Society; she treasured them both.

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