Clara Ruth Briles, 91, of DeKalb, passed away Saturday, May 7, under the tender care of the DeKalb County Hospice at the DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, DeKalb. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 5, in the Hearthside Room in the Visitors' Center of the Ellwood House, 509 W. First St.,, DeKalb. Preceded in death by her parents; siblings, Robert Pierce Wilson II, Travis Hudson Wilson I, Ida Gertrude Krebs, Charlotte Josephine Cochran, Sarah Elizabeth Quinlan and Jesse Rodman Wilson Sr.; and her brothers-in-law, Connally Oran Briles, Van Gordon Briles and Jack David Briles.
Born Nov. 9, 1919, in Riverside, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas, Ruth was the daughter of Robert Pierce and Ida (Hightower) Wilson. She married Worthie Elwood Briles on June 6, 1941, in Austin, Texas, while the two of them were attending the University of Texas. Later that summer, Ruth and Elwood received their Bachelors of Arts degrees in zoology from UT. They then went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison to begin work on their advanced degrees. However, those efforts were set aside so that Elwood could serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
Following World War II and the births of their first two children (Susan and David), Ruth and Elwood returned to Madison where they received their advanced degrees in immunogenetics in 1948 (Ruth: M.S., Elwood: Ph.D.). The family then moved to College Station, Texas, where Elwood was a faculty member in the Poultry Science Department at Texas A&M and where their younger daughter Sara was born. After the family moved to DeKalb in 1957, Ruth worked with Elwood at the DeKalb Agricultural Association as a research associate in immunogenetics research from 1958-1968. From 1968-1970, Ruth was an Instructor in biological sciences at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. From 1970-2000, Ruth again worked with Elwood, this time as a research associate for immunogenetics research in the Biology Department at NIU. On October 9, 2004, Elwood and Ruth were recognized for their contributions to avian genetics by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ruth was active in the American Association of University Women, volunteered at the Ellwood House and served for several years as the superintendent of the Sunday school at First Congregational Church in DeKalb. She is survived by her husband, Elwood; children, Susan Marie (Duane) Kniebes of Boulder, Colo., David Elwood (Marilyn Crain) Briles of Birmingham, Ala. and Sara (Richard Briles Moriarty) Briles of Madison, Wis.; grandchildren, Dustin Lincoln (Dana Churness) Briles Moriarty of Herbster, Wis., Rachel Florence (fiance Duy Hoang) Briles of Austin, Texas and Travis Crain Briles of Boulder, Colo.; step-grandchildren, Linda (Kniebes) Kozak and Carrie (Steve) Swift (Kniebes) of Lisle, Ill. and Van Kniebes of Boulder; great-grandchildren, Wylder Lee and Olin Elwood Moriarty of Herbster; and numerous nephews, nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews, including especially nephews, Jesse Rodman Wilson Jr. (Cathy) of Cold Springs, Nev., Hal (Claudia) Cochran of West Covina, Calif., Dale (Jacqueline) Cochran of San Clemente, Calif. and Roy (Therese) Krebs of Alexandria, Va.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 2600 N. Annie Glidden Road, DeKalb, IL 60115, or the DeKalb County Hospice, 2727 Sycamore Road, Suite 1B, DeKalb, IL 60115. The family wishes to thank both organizations for the professional and extremely kind care that they provided Ruth in her last months and days.