Orange County philanthropist Ruth Ann Moriarty, granddaughter and the last living third-generation descendant of C.J. and Bertha Segerstrom, died at age 99 at her home on Jan. 4.
Known as the Segerstrom family historian, Moriarty was a prominent figure in the Orange County community.
A Santa Ana native, Moriarty was the daughter of Anton and Nellie Ruth Segerstrom and sister of the late real estate developer and arts philanthropist Henry T. Segerstrom.
Since their arrival from Sweden in 1882, the Segerstroms have played a significant role in the county’s growth and development, pioneering several local landmarks including South Coast Plaza and the renowned Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Moriarty graduated from Santa Ana High School. She attended Scripps College, Stanford University, and the University of Southern California (USC) where she trained as a World War II cadet nurse and received her Bachelor of Science degree and registered nurse credentials.
While attending USC, she met her husband Eugene H. Moriarty. They were married for 60 years before his passing in 2011 and raised three children – Jean, Richard and Donald – in Orange County, sending all three to the Moriartys’ alma mater, USC.
A majority of the historical information and never-before-seen photographs in the 2017 exhibition “Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream,” which chronicled the history of the family at South Coast Plaza, were curated from Moriarty’s personal archives.
An active champion of numerous charities, she was a founding member of the Women’s Auxiliary of Orange County, a board member of the Visiting Nurses Association of Orange County, a supporter of the Assistance League of Santa Ana, and a member of Ebell Society of Santa Ana.
She became a lifetime member of the Salvation Army’s Orange County Advisory Board and was honored at the nonprofit’s Spirit of Giving Awards ceremony in Dec. 1999. She served on the Humanities Board of the University of California, Irvine and was a patron of Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Moriarty is survived by her daughter Jean, her son Richard (Marilyn), son Donald (Lacey), six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.