Picture of Ruth in her later years courtesy of Patti Crews
Today was Ruth's memorial service. Approximately 25 neighbors and friends attended the service which was held in the chapel of the United Methodist Church in Evanston. Here is a video picturing the church which was designed by noted Chicago Prairie School architect Thomas E. Tallmadge: http://www.faithatfirst.com/?page_id=283. It is quite a beautiful, elegant church. It turns out that Ruth's father was a Methodist Pastor in Washington D.C. and had ties to some of the early founders of this church.
The ceremony was a fitting celebration of Ruth's life with many of the attendees telling their stories about her. Over the course of the last few days, at today's service, and at the reception afterwards many of the details of her life came into focus and were added together making the picture of Ruth more complete than any of us had experienced individually.
For the "neighborhood crone, witch, busybody, chatty cathy" ... it is amazing how many people she touched and loved and who were loved in return by Ruth. Her memory will live on in many hearts. In her own unique way, she was a neighborhood icon and valued community member.
After all the years of her living alone without family, her grandson was found and he flew in from California to attend the celebration of her life. It gave us some closure and more structure to Ruth's life even though his involvement took place after her death. He had known her for approximately three days when he was five years old, some thirty years ago. But having him there was so important to all those who attend the day.
Afterwards a reception was held at her old house, now owned and renovated by another resident on the block. When we got there some 20 more people (plus the 25 who were at the Church) were already looking at the many of Ruth's paintings that were for sale, visiting with each other, and telling "Ruth Stories." The young husband and wife and their two very young children who will be renting Ruth's house attended as well.
In a small way, I wanted to say my goodbyes to Ruth so I baked cookies to bring to the reception. We always used to share sweets with her and she loved cookies as much as I do. Gregory and I are happy for Ruth, we are sad for ourselves.
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