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Ruth (Gallagher) EichlerApril 21, 2017
Finally pain-free and comfortable, my Mom quietly passed on early in the morning of April 21st as I sat with her. Always a lady, she never complained about the crippling arthritic pain she experienced daily for many years. Although managing to mask her increasing dementia, Ruth lived a full and independent life until the 2016 death of her husband Russell. They had shared 69 years of marriage. Ruth spent her last year with the Ashland Farm Assisted Living Community in North Andover.
Born in Lawrence to John and Erma (Korb) Gallagher she also lived in Newton, MA and Providence, RI. Following her graduation as Salutatorian of Lawrence High School, she was further educated in Boston as an executive secretary at the Katherine Gibbs School and later attended the Fanny Farmer School of Cooking. At one point in time she served as secretary to the father of the late President John F. Kennedy.
Over the years special pets were a big part of her life. When Ruth was 17, her brother Howard returned from Naval duty in South America with a tiny Marmoset monkey. Mom loved to tell stories about how “King Kong” ruled the household and terrorized visitors for many years. She adored the dogs – Dinty, Angus and Abby, and always was “owned” by a rescued cat or two.
Active in the Christ Presbyterian Church I Lawrence, Ruth met her future husband Russ during a Youth Group scavenger hunt. He certainly turned out to be a prize! They settled in Methuen and she stayed at home to help raise two daughters, Janet and Robin. She was a devoted wife, mother, and accomplished seamstress, cook and homemaker. Over the years, Mom volunteered with the YWCA, Church and Civic groups, the Girl Scouts, PTA, Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Lawrence General Hospital, and taught ESL. She returned to the paying work-place when the girls entered college.
Decades of summers were always spent at Big Island Pond in NH. Her grandson, Jay, will fondly recall her and all of the fun and adventures that the lakeside had to offer. After retiring, Russ renovated the “camp” into a year-round home where the couple lived until 2016.
Ruth and Russ were enthusiastic world travelers. They felt fortunate to have visited many countries whose borders are now closed to tourism. Both daughters share the same passion.
Ruth was predeceased by her husband Russell Eichler and brother Howard Gallagher (of California). Besides Janet, she is survived by her daughter Robin, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and her niece Carol Gallagher.
Mom’s wish was to be cremated and have no memorial services.
It is with deep and heartfelt gratitude that I wish to thank the RCA’s, Nurses and entire staff of Ashland Farm, and also the All Care Hospice Team for the loving, gentle and compassionate care that they have shown both Mom and me. Janet Eichler.
Arrangements are by The Charles F. Dewhirst Funeral Home, 80 Broadway, Methuen. To leave an online condolence, please go to www.dewhirstfuneral.com.