“Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people will be my people and thy God my God.” Ruth 1:16
Ruth Jackson was born January 10, 1927, the daughter of Janet (Leeman) and Lawrence Clark of Montville. Ruth and her younger sister Jean had an unusual early childhood experience, as along with their mother, they followed their father to reside near the Veteran’s Hospital where he received prolonged treatment for combat-related injuries. It is likely the time she spent visiting with her father and speaking with other veterans and their families that led to Ruth’s lifelong unique gift of being able to connect with others. Her genuine interest in others led to friends and strangers alike being able to share their personal stories with her, both of happy times and sad times.
Ruth’s childhood experience in losing her father when she was still a young girl left her with a knowledge that every day spent with loved ones was a precious gift. She lived each day with purpose and commitment to those whom she loved.
Ruth married Albert Jackson on Oct. 20, 1944. During the early period of their marriage, the couple experienced living half a world apart due to Albert’s call to duty as a enlisted soldier during World War II. Their first child Elaine was born while Albert was overseas. Albert made it back home just in time to celebrate Elaine’s first birthday. In the ensuing years, Ruth and Albert were inseparable in devoting all their energies towards making a home which was filled with love. Together they created memories of good times shared with family and friends. Ruth had an ever-ready smile and greeting for whoever entered her home. Her home was always filled with welcoming cheer, warmth, and smells of home-cooked and delicious meals. Holidays often included a lonely widower for whom Ruth’s generosity ensured participation as one of the family. Hunting season in Maine saw Ruth cooking harvest meals for the out-of-state hunters for whom Albert served as a guide.
Ruth’s hands were always busy — whether with baking special treats; with sewing little dresses for her granddaughters; with decorating her home to make it always pretty and attractive; with hanging loads of freshly laundered clothes on the clothesline; with writing letters to keep those far from home connected to things happening at home; and with caring for her prized flower beds of fragrant Sweet William. Together, Albert, Ruth and the children were all kept busy with a myriad of daily chores involved in running their small Maine dairy farm.
Ruth was a master organizer. Where she saw an opportunity to do something special to make the life of a friend or loved one easier or better, she committed herself — as well as Albert and any others who may be designated as essential to bringing the task to fruition! We all learned early on that it was better to act upon Ruth’s intended results rather than procrastinate as it was known her missions led to outcomes!
Ruth loved her family deeply and each of us knows intimately the impact she has had upon our lives. She was the proud mother and grandmother of children and grandchildren who served their country, their state, and their communities.
In her unselfish and natural manner, she shared in the childcare responsibilities of raising her grandchildren. Her daughter and her daughters-in-law were able to pursue their vocational dreams in large part due to Ruth’s active role as a loving and nurturing grandmother who was always there when needed to lend a hand with childcare. Ruth was the quintessential stay-at-home mother and grandmother. Her grandchildren will forever hold dear memories of special days spent with Grammy. Their Grammy shared with them her love of dogs and cats, flowers, ice cream and cake, and special trips to amusement parks. Grammy let them in on her secret for where to find her special cache of candy. Grammy was a fun grandmother and the conversation was always lively!
Ruth lost some family members recently who were very dear to her heart. Her only daughter Elaine LaCombe, her only sister Jean Cunningham, and her eldest grandchild Ricky Woods pre-deceased her. The sadness of these great losses left their mark on Ruth; however, she continued to face life with bravery, cheer, and optimism. She found special joy in the visits of her grandchildren and her little great-grandchildren.
Ruth and Albert have been a couple for so many decades that it is impossible in one’s mind to separate one from the other. They have been true and loyal partners in a richly loved and rewarding life. Ruth would take comfort in knowing she leaves Albert engulfed in a circle of loving family. There are special places in which Ruth’s presence will forever be felt: the farm on Morey Hill overlooking surrounding valleys and hills of Morrill and Montville and “ the camp” on Lake St. George where family spent some of the happiest days in the life of the Jackson family.
Ruth is survived by her children and their families, Wayne and his partner Janice Lathrop, Glenn and his children Heather, Heidi, Lara, Marissa, Carly, and Graham, Dean and his wife Nancy and their children Ryan and Sarah; and by her grand-daughter Kimberly Elkins.
She is survived by her precious great-grandchildren Joshua and Mariah Hurd; Abigail, Madison, and Jackson Elkins; Grace, Philip, Bowen, Ezra, Mercy, Amelia and Silas Mather; and Ava, Allyson, and Callum Markham.
Her family is grateful to Nancy who made it possible for Ruth to receive skilled nursing care at home. The family will treasure the memories of the deep mutual love and devotion demonstrated by Ruth and Albert. This love was never more evident than in the last days of Ruth’s life. Albert, her shining prince to the end, offered to Ruth his steady and reassuring hand. She held his hand as the light of love and gratitude shone from her eyes and was reflected in his. The act of allowing other family members to witness such great love between them was the final gift this couple bestowed upon their children and grandchildren. Ruth passed away in her own home with loved ones at her side on a day when sun broke through clouds and little birds flocked to feeders outside her window.
A Celebration of Ruth’s life will be held at the Morrill Baptist Church on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Ruth may be made to Waldo County Home Health and Hospice. Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, 182 Waldo Ave., Belfast.