Ruth Mary Shokoff of Fredonia, New York, died suddenly on November 7, 2019.
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She was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 6, 1937, to William McKinley
Collins and Naomi (Palm) Collins. She is survived by her devoted husband
of 57 years, Dr. James Shokoff of Fredonia; her daughter Elisa Shokoff of
New York City; her son Christopher Shokoff and daughter-in-law Elizabeth
(Juelke) Shokoff of Hillsborough, New Jersey, and four grandchildren whom
she loved more than words can express: Meghan Shokoff, Michael Shokoff,
Katherine Ruth Shokoff, and William Shokoff, all of Hillsborough, New
Jersey. She is also survived by her brother, the Reverend John A. Collins
and sister-in-law Dr. Sheila D. Collins of New Rochelle, New York, and her
nieces Dr. Megan Collins of New York City and Dr. Jennifer Collins of
Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Ruth earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in art and education at the
University of Iowa, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to earn her
Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Buffalo, and studied at the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the New School for Social
Research in New York City.
An accomplished printmaker, Ruth was the youngest artist chosen to exhibit
her work in the 1962 Annual National Print Exhibition at the Brooklyn
Museum. Throughout her career, her work was exhibited in shows at the
Albright-Knox Art Gallery; the Burchfield Penney Art Center; the
Cooperstown Art Association Galleries; the National Arts Club of New York
City; Mount Holyoke College; Kent State; and the Universities of Buffalo,
Washington, Oregon, and Nebraska.
After graduation from college, Ruth taught art in the Mount Kisco, New York
public schools. Subsequently, she was an Assistant Librarian, Slide and
Photograph Collection, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
For over 20 years, she taught classes in printmaking, drawing, and design
at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. She was also a
Juror for the American Film Festival of the Educational Library
Association, and served on a panel awarding grants for the New York State
Council on the Arts. In recent years she was an active member of the League
of Women Voters of Chautauqua County.
Ruth received many awards for her artwork, including the Chautauqua Print
Award, 22nd Annual Chautauqua National Exhibition of American Art; the Best
in Show Award, Erie Museum of Art's Annual Spring Show; and the Graphic
Award, Buffalo News Centennial Art Exhibition. A long-time member of the
Buffalo Society of Artists, over the years she was awarded the Society’s
Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, as well as the Joan Walton Primerano Award
and the Laura Clary Memorial Award.
Following her wishes, there was no funeral or wake. A gathering of
remembrance was held for her family.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions in Ruth
Shokoff’s memory be made to the 1891 Fredonia Opera House, 9 Day Street,
Fredonia, N.Y. 14063. (716) 679-0891