Ruth Clark Radakovich Timeline
April 25, 1920 - January 6, 1975
1920: Ruth was born in Chicago and raised in Winnetka, IL. Her parents were Dr. Elbert Clark and Helen Johnson. She was the middle of three children. Her two siblings: Jean b.1918 and John b.1921. She attended Winnetka public schools - Greeley Elementary School and Skokie Middle School.
1938: She graduated from New Trier Township High School. She organized a new girl’s football team and belonged to the swim team. She was strong in journalism and was politically oriented (liberal).
1938, Summer: She attended the 'Experiment in International Living' project in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Holland (later called 'World Learning', in Brattleborro, VT).
1939 - 1942: She attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. Majored in art, minored in journalism and anthropology. She was the news editor and editorial writer for the college newspaper, 'The Campus'. Classmate Sonia Chase became her lifelong friend. She took a break from school in her junior year in response to WWII.
1939: She attended, and was active in, the American Youth Congress (AYC) - a depression era youth based political lobbying organization for the pursuit of a progressive government, under the support of Eleanor Roosevelt.
1939, Summer: Ruth toured England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland by bicycle, staying in youth hostels with college friend Sonia and sister Jean Clark. Their travels were cut abruptly with the British involvement in WWII. They had difficulty getting passage back to US and were stranded for a month due to blackouts when it was not safe for ships to sail.
1940, Summer: She attended the 'Experiment in International Living' project in Peru, Panama and Ecuador as she couldn’t return to Europe due to the war. She sustained a serious back injury in Peru and contracted amoebic dysentery, neither of which she ever fully recovered from.
1942: Ruth learned to fly and got a small craft license hoping to fly a supply plane but was turned down by both the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAFs) and the Women Accepted for Voluntary Service (WAVES) due to her amoebic dysentery. She then went to work with Women’s Land Army in Illinois.
1943 - 1946: She left school to work in Ford’s Willow Run bomber factory in Ypsilanti, MI. 1945 - US is at war with Japan.
1946 - 1947: She joined the post war recovery effort and was sent to Belgrade, Yugoslavia to work for United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA was an international agency set up in 44 countries to provide basic necessities to war victims) as a secretary in charge of package distribution. She had been interested in traveling to China but the only space available was in Yugoslavia. She was also involved with C.A.R.E.'s (Cooperative for American Remittances to Everywhere, Inc.) Belgrade and Sarajevo offices package distribution. On her own she rallied to her home town for contributions (supplies) and was tremendously successful. She maintained a continuous flow of packages that she organized and shipped herself.
1946: She met Svetozar (Toza) Radaković, a Serbian and native of Belgrade, also working for UNRRA. They fell madly in love.
1947, June: UNRRA's mission terminated and Ruth is forced to leave the country as no tourists are allowed in Yugoslavia. She travels to Switzerland, France and then to Denmark to visit friend Karen Prip before returning to the states. She maintained a secret long distance relationship with Toza and they began planning his escape from Yugoslavia.
1948: Ruth returned to US and went to live with her sister Jean Williams' family in Oakland, CA for six months.
1948: She attended the summer session at Mills College in Oakland, CA to study enameling, silversmithing and ceramics with Carlton Ball.
1948 - 1949: She returned to Sarah Lawrence and transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor for her senior year. She graduated with a BA.
1949 - 1952: She attended the School for American Craftsmen at Alfred University in Alfred, NY to study metalwork with John Prip. Ruth followed SAC when it moved to Rochester Institute of Technology in 1949.
1951: She sailed for Europe after traveling to Montreal, Canada in June. She visited her sister's family in France and traveled to Belgrade as one of first ‘tourists’ allowed to enter the country. She managed to visit Toza on a temporary visa. She stayed five months but was immediately deported when she tried to bribe the Yugoslav Ministry of Interior for an exit visa for Toza. He was arrested for associating with a foreigner and sent to jail.
1951 - 1952: She studied metalworking at a summer school in Rome, Italy while waiting for Toza to escape according to their intricate plan. That attempt failed and Toza disappeared. Not sure if he is alive, she contacted his mother to search for him.
1952: She returned to the US to study silversmithing with John Prip and Hans Christensen at the School for American Craftsmen now at Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, and waited to hear news of Toza. He had been arrested and sent to prison. His mother managed to secure his release after four months and he went back to work as the art editor of Jugoslavia magazine.
1953: She finally received a telegram from Toza saying he was free and in Paris. She dropped everything, sent him money but had to wait almost four months to get passage on a ship. Joyfully reunited, they lived in Paris for one year hoping to obtain his refugee status. Her old school mate Sonia Chase Hodson lived in Paris and helped greatly with efforts to get his visa. After many months of legal difficulties they moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, the only country to recognize political refugees. This gave them five months relief from the French bureaucracy. During this time Ruth introduced Toza to metalwork. They studied metalworking with Mogens Bjorn Anderson in his shop in Copenhagen. They moved briefly to Gilleleje and Torpet to paint.
1953 - 1954: Toza and Ruth were both studying and working as artists and were exhibited in Paris and Denmark.
1954: Ruth and Toza returned to Paris after waiting 2 years for his visa appointment and with some coaxing, Toza is finally granted refugee papers. After 2 years and $22,000 francs for official stamps on 32 documents, they got permission a to marry and for Toza to emigrate. They were married on January 6th on paper and on the 9th they had a ceremony in an old Serbian church and she became Mrs. Ruth Clark Radaković. Her mother traveled to France for the wedding but his family could not leave Yugoslavia.
1954: They studied filagree metal work in Italy and traveled to Spain and around France to visit Altamira, Lascaux and as many museums as they could, including Picasso’s residence, during the six months wait to get passage to the US.
1955: They left from La Havre, France on the SS Liberté and arrived through Ellis Island, NY on February 21st. After a few weeks in New York City, they traveled upstate to Rochester where Ruth had been living so she could visit friends and introduce the man they had all heard about for so long. They settled there and became close friends with the Shop One arts community which included John and Karen Prip, Ronald and Kay Pearson, Franz and Marjorie Wildenhain, Olaf and Judy Skoogfors, Tage Frid, Barbara and Hobart Cowles among others, and left an influence on some of the younger generation there such as Albert Paley.
1955 - 1956: Ruth taught jewelry at the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG), University of Rochester, NY and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).
1956: Ruth and Toza have their first child, daughter Jean in August.
1956 - 1958: She taught silversmithing at MAG ‘Creative Workshops’.
1957: They legally altar their last name Radaković by adding an 'h' to make it more phonetically correct in English. Their daughter Jean's name was inadvertently left out and remains unaltered.
1958: Ruth and Toza went on a road trip down the California coast to look for a place to live where Toza could be near the ocean in a warmer climate so they could work outdoors year round. They found a place in Encinitas, 25 miles north of San Diego and put a down on the house with the help of her family. They found the San Diego area appealing in that was relatively isolated and less concerned with traditional trends in the small but rapidly evolving community.
1958: They have their second child, daughter Saika Ann in October.
1958: The Radakoviches moved to Encinitas in December. Toza drove a trailer with Vladimir (Vova) Pejovic, his friend from Belgrade, whose family Ruth sponsored to come to the US. The two men made the trip in a few days to meet the moving van and arrived to find the house extensively vandalized. They repaired it all before Ruth flew out with the children. They quickly set up a make-shift metal shop in the garage to keep up with exhibition deadlines. Toza became an American Citizen.
1959: Ruth and Toza co-designed and built a new studio to accomodate all the new media they were now exploring. Although still making jewelry, Ruth spent most of her time running their business, raising their children and becoming involved in the community.
1960: Ruth and Toza joined the Allied Craftsmen’s Council, the Society of American Goldsmiths and the Allied Craftsmen of San Diego and quickly became very active in the local art community. They were exhibiting internationally and hosting AC meetings and legendary parties. Their clients and friends included people like Dr. Jonas Salk, Dr. Jacob Bronowski, Ted Geisel (Dr. Suess) among many people in the scientific and academic community. Ruth became particularly good friends with fellow jeweler Arline Fisch.
1961: Ruth and the children go with Toza to live on the Hopi reservation for one month where Toza was invited to teach jewelry at the Southwest Indian Art Project, University of Arizona, Tucson. They formed lasting friendships with Tucson artists including fabric designer Berta Wright, ceramic artist Maurice Grossman and visionary architect Paolo Soleri. They also maintained a lifelong friendship with the Hopi jeweler Charles Loloma who Toza co-taught with, as well as with his niece, jeweler Verma Nequatewa who continues his legacy.
1970 - 1974: While Toza is teaching at Palomar College, they mentored several students, some of who came to live with them briefly - to include movie special effects mogul, Phil Tippett.
1974: She is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in September. Treatment fails.
1975: Ruth died in her home in Encinitas, CA at age 54 just before dawn on January 6th - their 21st anniversary and Serbian Christmas eve, which the family observed. Her eldest daughter and her sister were present.
During her career she exhibited paintings, sculpture and jewelry internationally and taught metalsmithing. She authored several articles on fellow artists. She was included in many publications and won many awards. Her work is now represented in permanent museum collections as well as many private collections.
Ruth was an intellectual and loved deep conversation, entertaining and connecting people. She loved the beauty in nature and was a patient, loving woman. Although she rarely shared her talent for writing, she was never afraid to follow her dreams.
Partial list of Ruth’s home addresses:
1920 - 1938: 635 Blackthorn Rd, Winnetka, IL
1946 - 1954: (intermittently) Paris, Denmark and France with Toza
1954 - 1956?: 1077 Kings Highway, Rochester, NY
1956? - 1958: 1992 Monroe Ave, Rochester, NY
1958, December - 1975, January: 1025 Arcadia Rd, Encinitas, CA