Newhall became a well-known figure in the Santa Clarita Valley after she and her husband, Scott, bought The Signal in 1963.
Newhall died in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center of apparent heart failure after a brief illness, said her son, Skip. Coincidentally, Newhall died in the same hospital in which she was born, though it had been renamed and relocated since her birth.
Born and raised in Berkeley, Newhall graduated from University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in art and philosophy and served as vice president of the student body. She was a teaching assistant at Cal for two years after graduation.
Newhall married Scott in 1933 and, two years after their marriage, Scott and Ruth bought a sailboat to sail around the world. They made it as far as Manzanillo, Mexico, where a storm damaged their boat. The two rode horseback for three months through the Mexican countryside when Scott was kicked by a horse and his leg became infected. They returned to San Francisco and Scott's leg was amputated.
Ruth Newhall worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, first as a secretary for editor Chester Rowell, then Herb Caen. Eventually she worked as a reporter in the editorial writers department and on the city desk. Newhall also taught journalism at UC Berkeley and Mills College in Oakland.
During this stint, Ruth Newhall gave birth to her four children; Skip of Valencia, Jon of Oakland and Tony of Valencia; daughter Penny, the youngest, was killed in a 1955 truck accident.
During her tenure as editor of The Signal (1970-79 and 1985-88), Newhall created the news briefs section that ran above the masthead called "Our Amazing Planet." A memorable brief in 1977 included the news of the death of Elvis Presley, which Newhall titled, "The Pelvis is Dead."
The Signal received numerous letters to the editor regarding the brief, including one from a subscriber who said he would love to write her obituary when the time came: "Idiot publisher and owner of Newhall rag is dead."
Newhall was also responsible for the weekly Demon Rum section, which published the names of individuals arrested for driving under the influence.
Scott Newhall preceded his wife in death in 1992. Ruth is survived by her three sons and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Memorial services are pending.