Ruth Stafford Peale, Wife of Late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Dies at the Age of 101
PAWLING, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ruth Stafford Peale, chairman of the board emeritus and co-founder of Guideposts, died Wednesday, February 6, 2008, at her home in Pawling, NY. She was 101.
Along with her husband, the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, she founded the Guideposts organization in the 1940s to provide inspirational products and services developed from the belief that people’s lives can be improved, strengthened and deepened through applied spiritual faith. Best known is Guideposts, a magazine containing “True Stories of Hope and Inspiration,” which is today among the top 25 largest publications in America with a paid circulation of 2.5 million and a readership of 8 million.
Born in Fonda, Iowa, she graduated from Syracuse University and taught high school mathematics before her 63-year marriage to Dr. Peale. She was the mother of Margaret Peale Everett, Dr. John Stafford Peale, and Elizabeth Peale Allen, grandmother of eight, and great-grandmother of fourteen.
Mrs. Peale worked closely with her husband, one of the foremost preachers and motivational speakers of the twentieth century and author of the inspirational bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking, in all aspects of his life and work. She, herself, was a religious leader, public speaker and author, influencing the lives of millions.
Instrumental in the launch of Guideposts in 1945, she also arranged for publication of her husband’s sermons in an innovative program that grew into the Peale Center, located in Pawling, NY. Under Mrs. Peale’s guidance, the two organizations blended their strengths in 1995 to form the current Guideposts organization. The outreach division of Guideposts, located at the Peale Center, transforms lives in lasting ways through a number of activities. The Ruth Stafford Peale Prayer Power Network, the worldwide prayer fellowship named in her honor, receives approximately 600,000 prayers a year and will soon launch OurPrayer.org, a new global online prayer community. The Knit for Kids program distributes nearly 500,000 handmade sweaters worldwide to children in need. In addition, Guideposts distributes hundreds of thousands of free magazines and booklets each year to hospitals, nursing homes, military organizations and relief agencies.
During her lifetime, Mrs. Peale received numerous national awards and honors, including the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans, four honorary doctoral degrees, and listings in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.
She was a member of the board of directors of the American Bible Society, Interchurch Center, Institutes of Religion and Health and National Bible Association. Mrs. Peale wrote numerous articles that appeared in Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day and Saturday Evening Post and was the author of the book, Secrets of Staying in Love, published by Thomas Nelson. Well into her 90’s, Mrs. Peale was active in her executive roles with Guideposts, addressed church, business and women’s groups across the country, and appeared on national television broadcasts.
Among her other distinctions, she was the first woman president of the National Board of North American Missions of the Reformed Church in America and the first woman chairman of the Planning and Program Committee of the National Council of Churches 1966 Assembly. Mrs. Peale served for 10 years as national president of the Women’s Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America, as vice president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York and of the National Council of Churches, as a trustee of Hope College in Holland, MI, Champlain College in Burlington, VT, and Syracuse University in New York, and as a member of the National Women’s Board of Northwood Institute.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be sent to the Ruth Stafford Peale Memorial Fund and forwarded to Guideposts, 39 Seminary Hill Road, Carmel, NY 10512.
MEDIA CONTACT: John Baroody (212) 370-9700 x 118
[Press Release, Full Bio, more Photos and Video are available by visiting www.ruthstaffordpeale.org]
Awards Received by Ruth Stafford Peale
The New York State Mother of the Year Award—1963
Distinguished Woman of the Year from the National Art Association
Cum Laude Award from Syracuse University Alumni Association NY--1965
Honor Iowans’ Award from Buena Vista College--1966
Churchwoman of the Year by the Religious Heritage of America—1969
American Mothers Committee Religion Award—1970
First Honorary Chancellor Weber College, 1972-1973
The Distinguished Service Award from the Council of Churches, NYC—1973
Distinguished Citizen Award from Champlain College—1976
Distinguished Service to Community and Nation, General Federation of Women’s Clubs—1977
The Governor’s Award from the State of Nebraska
The Horatio Alger Award—1977
Religious Heritage Award—1979
The Frances E. Willard Award of Achievement of Alpha Phi Fraternity
American Achievers Award
Society for Family of Man Award (joint medallion with Dr. Peale)—1981
Bride’s Magazine Marriage Achievement Award (on 54 years of marriage to Dr. Peale)—1984
Golden Angel Award by Religion in Media—1987
Adela Rogers St. John Round Table Award (with Dr. Peale)—1987
Distinguished Achievement Award from American Aging Association (with Dr. Peale)—1987
International Communications Galaxy of Fame—1987
Salute to Women in Industry, YWCA—1988
Paul Harris Award from New York Rotary—1989
Arthritis Foundation Dutchess County Leaders’ Award—1992
International Platform Association Norman Vincent Peale Award for Leader in Communications--1994
The Dave Thomas Well Done! Award—1994
Norman Vincent Peale Award for Positive Thinking—1994
Member of Who’s Who Worldwide, “Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders”—1994
Master of Influence Award, National Speakers Association—1995
A Special Citation from the Laymen’s National Bible Committee—1997
The Leadership Award, Worldwide Leadership Council—1998
Certificate for Distinguished Service, New York State Federated Women’s Clubs—1999
Woman of the Year, American Association of University Women—2000
Candl Foundation Award—2000
Key to the City of Huntsville, AL—2000
Woman of Distinction by Reformed Church in America—2001
Ruth Stafford Peale Honorary Degrees
Doctor of Laws, Syracuse University—1953
Doctor of Letters, Hope College—1962
Doctor of Humane Letters, Milwaukee School of Engineering—1985
Doctor of Humane Letters, Judson College--1988