She was the daughter of American Lutheran missionary Allen Oliver Becker and his wife, Nellie. A younger brother, Luther, was born in Lima, Ohio, in March 1905, but died on February 7th, 1907 in Guntur just before his second birthday. In December 1907, Nellie gave birth to a second daughter, Marion. A son, Richard, was born in June 1910 at Kodaikanal.
In early 1912, Richard contracted an illness in India, and Nellie decided to take him, Ruth, and Marion to Benton Harbor, Michigan to seek treatment for him.
Richard got the illness and Nellie decided to sail from India to England with him, Ruth, and Marion leaving their father behind. They boarded the Ellerman Line steamer City of Benares for a trip to England that started at Madras, went through the Suez Canal to Port Said, through the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gilbraltar, and finally up to London.
Ruth boarded the Titanic at Southampton. She was travelling with Nellie, Marion, and Richard from India to Benton Harbour, Michigan (ticket no. 230136, £39).
Ruth later recalled that after the collision a steward initially told Nellie, "We've had a little accident. They're going to fix it, and then we'll be on our way…"
While the boats were loaded a steward placed Marion and Richard in Lifeboat 11, and then said, "Well that's all for this boat!", at which Nellie pleaded to be allowed in as well, saying, "Please let me in this boat! Those are my children!" She was allowed in but Ruth was left on the Titanic, at which point Nellie screamed, "Ruth! Get in another boat!" She eventually got into Lifeboat 13 with the help of Sixth Officer Moody.
After the sinking, Ruth gave her blanket to one of the stokers, who had on only a sleeveless shirt and shorts for working down in the coal bunkers, and was now shivering in the night air.