Ruth Allen Dittman
February 17, 1920 – October 11, 2013
Ruth Beatrice Allen Dittman, 93, passed away on Friday, October 11, 2013 in San Antonio, Bexar Co., Texas. She was a loving mother, grandmother, aunt and friend to many. Mrs. Dittman was born on February 17, 1920 in Humble, Harris Co., Texas and was the daughter of John Kirby Allen, III and Alice Saphronia Standley Allen. She attended Robert E. Lee High School in Baytown, Texas and Texas State Teachers College (now known as Texas State University) located in San Marcos, Texas. Ruth began dating Henry "Pelly" Dittman when he was a senior at Texas A&M University. In 1941, she received a call from Hawaii and the long distance operator had her paged in the Texan Theater in Baytown. On the other end was Henry Dittman who was calling to pop the question… and, her answer was "yes." The very next day, Ruth packed her bags. She and her sisters drove from Baytown to San Francisco, CA where she took a ship to Hawaii. On July 19, 1941 at Hickam Field, Oahu, Hawaii, she was married to Lieutenant Henry Dittman, U.S. Army Air Corps. Her wedding dress was hand-made by Henry’s commanding officer’s wife from a silk parachute. The couple exited the church under a traditional arch of crossed sabers. Mrs. Dittman, an Army Air Corps bride of only a few months, was living in the Officer Quarters at Hickam Field on Sunday, December 7, 1941. A few days before, her husband had flown one of nine Boeing B-17D Flying Fortresses to Clark Field, Philippine Islands. During the attack, the Japanese aircraft machine gun strafed the Officer Quarters. She told the story many times about her experiences that day: "I awoke to the sound of windows rattling and wall mirrors falling to the floor. Our quarters were literally shaking. I got out of bed and with my roommate ran outside. When we got outside, I looked up and Japanese planes were like bees swarming. They were so close I could see their long white silk neck scarves flying from their open cockpits." Between the first and second attack waves, Mrs. Dittman made her way to the Hickam Field Base Hospital to help care for the wounded. She remembered, "Then the second attack came. One bomb exploded within 20 feet of the hospital but it wasn't hit. Part of the roof was torn away by machine gun fire." Mrs. Dittman said that during the first day and night and into the next, "it all seemed like a dream, a nightmare. We couldn't believe it. Everything that anyone did was automatic. There was little reasoning or logic behind it. It was terrible." She related, "Within a few minutes after the attack was launched, despite the confusion of the civilian population and the bombs dropping and machine guns pumping death into the soldier barracks, the army men went to work." Later, she was sent to the temporary hospital set-up at the Base Gymnasium. She remembers, "Around 11 a.m. they started evacuating the civilians, but I didn't go. I stayed three days at the base gymnasium to help with the wounded. Throughout Dec. 7th and the next few days, she worked, without regard to her own personal safety, to assist with the care of the wounded and dying American servicemen who were brought in from all-over the island to this triage center. Mrs. Dittman's patriotic service is a testament to what every American should strive to emulate in a large-scale emergency situation that threatens the security of our country due to an enemy attack. On Christmas Day, December 25, 1941, she and other military dependents in Hawaii were evacuated aboard an Army transport ship convoy to San Francisco, CA. She traveled by automobile with her shipboard roommate, Mrs. G. M. Earl, to San Antonio, and then from there by train to Houston, arriving on January 6, 1942. Upon arriving home in Baytown, she immediately went to work in the war effort. She became the first married woman to be hired at Humble Oil Baytown Refinery (Humble is now known as ExxonMobil). Mrs. Dittman continued to serve her country as a military wife. She supported her husband in his many prestigious military assignments throughout the world. Colonel Dittman served as the commander of numerous large Air Bases including: Castle Air Force Base near Merced, CA; Hanscom Air Force Base near Bedford, MA; and Patrick Air Force Base near Cocoa Beach, FL. After Colonel Dittman's retirement, they returned to Baytown, Texas where she continued to live until a few years ago. Mrs. Dittman was an At-Large Member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Texas Star Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Oran M. Roberts Chapter 440, United Daughters of the Confederacy. She had a passionate love for Houston. The city, founded by her ancestors, She was a lineal descendant of Rowland and Sarah (Chapman) Allen whose sons were Augustus Chapman (A.C.) Allen (wife, Charlotte Baldwin Allen), Samuel Lewis Allen, John Kirby Allen, George Allen (wife, Harriet Elvira Fenley), Henry Rowland Allen, and, Harvey Hawley Allen. She is survived by her sons, Major Henry Dittman, Jr. (U.S. Air Force, ret.) and Ralph Ernest Dittman, M.D. and wife, Terry Huffington; four grandchildren Mary Ruth Dittman, Henry Mitchell Dittman, Sydney Celeste Allen Huffington Dittman and Lindsay Michael Allen Huffington Dittman. She is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews, including John P. Mooney, Jr, Col. Donna Ruth Mooney (U.S. Air Force, ret.), and Myrteel Mooney Ward. She was predeceased by her husband Colonel Henry Dittman (U.S. Air Force, ret.), parents and siblings, John Eugene (Johnny Gene) Allen; Raymond Samuel (Ray) Allen; Lecel Donna Allen Harbour; Mary Mildred Allen Howard; Dorothy Myrteel Allen Howell; Edith Ada Allen Gaylord Harbour; Ella Marguerite Allen Mooney Jones and Hope Allen Harris. Pursuant to her wishes, Mrs. Dittman was cremated and her ashes will be interred next to her parents at the Hill of Rest Cemetery located in Baytown, Texas. To view the online obituary and post a tribute to the family, visit earthmanbaytown.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Earthman Funeral Home, 3919 Garth Rd., Baytown, TX 77521; (281) 422-8181.
Ruth Allen Dittman
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Norma Thronburg, Chaplain Mary West Chapter 26, UDC
November 25, 2013
We celebrate the long, patriotic life of your mother, Ruth; what a marvelous legacy she has left. May God bless you and comfort you in the days to come.
With UDC love,
November 20, 2013
On behalf of The Daughters of The Republic of Texas I would like to express my condolences on the passing of Ruth and to pray for peace and comfort for her family and friends,
Chaplain General, DRT
Carl Richard Dittman
November 13, 2013
Hank and Ralph Ernie, I'm very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you during this time. She was a Rock and I'm sure Uncle Henry is glad to have her back with him.
November 11, 2013
I never knew Ruth Dittman, but her history sounds fantastic, a true Hero and Texan. As a Sr. at Texas A&M, her husband Henry "Pelly" Dittman was my hero, Sounds like a family of men and women who were truly dedicated and served their country.
November 11, 2013
My condolences to the family of one whose life was so richly lived. ....What a beautiful and proud obituary.
Fellow Chapter Member
Daughters of the Republic of Texas
United Daughters of the Confederacy
November 10, 2013
May God bless Mrs. Dittman and the legacy that she has left. She lead her life as she was taught; love of God, Country, Family and fellow man.
November 10, 2013
Condolences to her family during the holiday season.
November 9, 2013
My sympathy to the family of Ruth Dittman and to the members of Oran M. Roberts 440 UDC. Ruth had an exciting life and lived during an important part of the history of the USA. She was a heroine serving her country during the attack on Pearl Harbor by caring for the wounded military men and women.
The genealogy of her family is one to be proud of belonging. All are not blessed to have so much knowledge of their families nor to live with pride in all one does.
May God Bless each of you as you recover from this great loss.
Sherry Davis, Honorary President of General UDC
November 9, 2013
She was an American patriot who will be remembered. Condolences to her friends & family.
November 8, 2013
My condolences to the Dittman Family. She performed heroically during a very difficult period at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Oran M. Roberts Chapter 440 was honored to call her "our member". Her life has been well documented and she will be missed by all she touched.
Carolyn K. Farmer, Oran M. Roberts 440
Lynna Kay Shuffield
November 8, 2013
Mrs. Dittman was a lovely individual who care very much for her family. She was a remarkable lady who will be missed by all and remembered always.
We were very proud to present to her the Judah P. Benjamin Award for her Patriotic Service to the United States.
The Members of the Oran M. Roberts Chapter 440, United Daughters of the Confederacy