Ruth M. Burnham slipped away gently on January 6th, 2016, at the Addison Gilbert Hospital, after enjoying the holidays with many of her children and grandchildren. She was 88 years old, and lived all of her life on Cape Ann.
Ruth was born on Dec 5, 1927, to George and Leona (Murphy) Budrow, the first of six children. In her youth, she studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music. She married young and spent many years rearing her six children. In her 40s, Ruth determined to improve her education, and studied at North Shore Community College, where she obtained an Associate degree in mental health counseling. Ruth was a dedicated musician, who loved singing and playing piano, especially while surrounded by her children, and she rang English handbells both as a young woman and in her later years. She passed her love of music and her talent to her children. For many years she was an active member or the First Baptist Church. She attended many Camp Farthest Out Conferences, including international sessions in Colorado and Switzerland, and participated in a weekly Cursillo group for 25 years. She loved writing about her experiences as well as preparing and delivering an occasional sermon. She enjoyed travel and visited Europe, Sweden, Africa, Korea, Thailand, and China “on a shoestring”, of which she was very proud. She designed a “Peace Flag," which she flew over the great wall of China. In her eighties, she travelled to the Canadian Maritimes in search of her roots, and met many cousins, with whom she stayed in touch. She especially enjoyed winter visits to her daughters’ homes in Florida and the Caribbean. An animal lover, Ruth cared for Morgan, Maddy, Andrew, Girlfriend, Chloe and Rocky during her retirement years. She was a voracious reader, and a positive, loving presence to all who knew her, including her final caregivers at Addison Gilbert Hospital. Her light will be greatly missed.
Ruth was predeceased by her parents, her siblings, Bill, Jane, Faye and George, her former husband, Howard F Burnham, her children Raynee and Ted, a son-in-law Eric Nielsen, and a great-granddaughter, Lauren Joy Keefe. She is survived by her dear brother, Smitty and his wife, Carolyn, her loving children, Caroline (Matt Mullen) Haines, Laurie (Jay) Keefe, Lynne (Paul Katz) Nielsen, and Toby (Renee Goveny); her cherished grandchildren, Geordie (Sarah) Keefe, Ruth Rowe, Rian (Deyvid) DoCarmo, Michaela White, Samantha (Aaron Dickerson) Muise, Lorenzo (Jamie Lane) Burnham, Heidi D’Andrea, Leda (John Anderson) and Asa Nielsen; her beloved great-grandchildren, Maia (James McCarl) Need, Eli Hughes, Logan DoCarmo, Lincoln Anderson, Hannah Keefe, and Aaron and Preston Dickerson; a treasured great-great-grandson, Karson McCarl; many devoted nieces and nephews, and a special adored family, Leslie, Masakazu and Keishin Ebata of Mukilteo, Wash.
Ruth’s memorial celebration will be held at the First Baptist Church, Gloucester, on June 4, at 11 a.m. Family and friends are invited to attend.