2023 Executive Board
Finance Officer……Sonia Hernandez
Ruth Askine and the Founding of the Southeast Harris County Branch
The Southeast Harris County Branch is forty years old in 2022, and our very own Ruth Askine–along with her sister, Martha Julian, and another member, Jeanne Gelber, founded the branch. After making the decision to found a branch, they put an ad in the newspaper–which brought a good response. The branch came into existence in 1981 with the name LaPorte-Pasadena Branch. Jeanne became the first president of the branch.
The branch is fortunate to have some of the earliest members still with us: Mary Ellen Harris (a Life Member), Louise Peck, Margie Fullen, and Blanche Harrison, as well as Ruth.
Ruth graduated from Rice University in 1958, where she majored in English and history. She earned her two master’s degrees in education and history from University of Houston at Clear Lake. She taught in California, where her husband (a Californian) earned his graduate degree. Ruth, her husband, and two children eventually returned to Pasadena, Texas, where Ruth previously had lived. Ruth had a successful teaching career teaching in several schools in Pasadena. She retired from Sam Rayburn High School in 1998. After retirement, Ruth worked in both the Pasadena Public Library and the University of Houston Library for four years.
Ruth also has been involved in many church activities, as well as working with Habitat for Humanity, the Pasadena Citizens’ Advisory Council, Pasadena Community Ministries, the Orphan Grain Train, and Pasadena Interfaith Manor.
Over the years, Ruth has served as president and financial officer of the branch. One of the branch’s projects in which Ruth was instrumental was the organization of the 2010 Expanding Your Horizons–a STEM career conference–for girls in grades 7 and 8, held at San Jacinto College. Students from Pasadena and Deer Park ISDs participated.
Ruth continues to be one of the Southeast Harris County Branch’s most active and valuable members, and she says that she enjoys all branch activities.
Mary Ellen Harris–a Life Member
Mary Ellen Harris was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, into a military family. She spent her high school senior year in Guam, where she was one of 20 non-Pacific Islanders out of a class of 400 students. She remembers going to the prom with a handsome Pacific Islander classmate.
Mary Ellen moved on to earn a journalism degree from the University of North Texas, and then earning a M.B.A in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas. She worked for several Texas newspapers–Beaumont Journal, San Antonio Express, and the Houston Post, as well as the Associated Press in Dallas.
Driven by her love of horses, and the owner of two Arabian horses, she also worked for the Horseman Magazine–where, in the 1960s–she acted as writer, editor, and photographer. She was indeed a one-woman show. Mary Ellen–with the help of a couple of friends–founded the Half-Arabian Yearbook.
Mary Ellen encountered outer space when she worked for a NASA contractor! She transcribed air-to-ground communications for Apollo-Soyuz, as well as edited NASA brochures.
At one point in Mary Ellen’s interesting, and varied, career, she dropped everything to return to Little Rock to take care of her aging parents.
Mary Ellen first joined an AAUW branch in Little Rock, and became one of the early members of the Southeast Harris County Branch in Texas. She is a Life Member.
Mary Ellen is a member of a couple of local book clubs. She enjoys reading most genres, but particularly likes murder mysteries.