Ruth Estella Sittler, the second of three children, grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. After her parents divorced in 1929, she, her mother, and her siblings, moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Sittler graduated from Pembroke College in 1933 with an A.B. in economics. After working as a governess and at Scruggs Vandervoort and Barney Department Store, she para-professionally pursued social work in programs under the Emergency Relief Act and subsequently obtained her master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh. During World War II, Sittler spent two years in France as a Field Director for the Red Cross and earned a position as a social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston shortly after returning home. In retirement, she maintained her passion for learning and took continuing education courses at Harvard’s Institute for Learning in Retirement. Sittler died on November 1, 2003.