Ruth Elizabeth (Mann) Fitzgerald, formerly of Methuen, passed from this life on Sunday, August 25, 2019 at her residence in Exeter, NH. She had recently celebrated her 89th birthday surrounded by her family including her beloved eight great grandchildren.
The daughter of the late Charles and Helen (Turner) Mann, she was born on June 7, 1930. Ruthie often shared fond remembrances of her childhood on the family’s Methuen apple orchard. Graduating as Salutatorian of the Edward F. Searles High School, Class of 1947, Ruth continued her education completing a dual degree program earning a BA in English from Radcliff College (1951) and her RN from Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing (1953).
While home from school on a visit, Ruth met Donald Fitzgerald, a young man who was working at her family’s orchard. They married in December 1952. Shortly after, Ruthie followed Don to Berlin, Germany where he was serving with the US Army. In 1954 they returned to Methuen and settled into life back at Mann Orchards. Opting to stay at home with their growing family, Ruth began making apple pies to sell at the orchard salesroom to help supplement the family income. Over the next 50 years, Ruthie and Don worked side by side to grow the fruit and bakery business eventually passing it on to their son Bill and his family.
After Don’s death in 2006, Ruth moved to Kennebunkport, Maine to be near her daughter and family. In 2013, she moved to The Boulders at Riverwoods in Exeter where she lived independently until this past year when she graciously accepted the help of the assisted living unit there. She also received loving care in the past few months from Compassus Hospice.
Throughout her life Ruthie was known for her optimistic spirit, indomitable work ethic, compassion and humility. While employed for only a few months in her chosen profession, she continued to put her nursing skills to good use caring for her parents and in-laws and as a CPR Instructor for the American Red Cross. She also volunteered for Merrimack Valley Hospice, was active in The Friends of the Nevins Library, the Methuen Bicentennial Committee and was always an active supporter of her husband’s and children’s activities.
A woman of strong faith, Ruthie had wonderful memories and lifelong friendships from her years as a member of West Congregational Church, Haverhill, MA. In later years she found joy and fellowship at First Congregational Church, Kennebunkport, ME and most recently at First Congregational Church, Kingston, NH.
Ruth was predeceased by her cherished husband of almost 54 years, Donald F. Fitzgerald and her brother, Charles W. Mann, III. She is survived by her son Warren Fitzgerald, son William Fitzgerald and his wife Kathy, daughter Bonnie Tahan and her husband Michael as well as her nine grandchildren and their families: Joshua Fitzgerald, Melissa Tahan Schneider, Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien, Kimberly Tahan Thorner, Matthew Fitzgerald, Christopher Fitzgerald, Allison Fitzgerald, Michael Tahan and Dillon Fitzgerald. She also leaves her sister Helen Lutz, brother-in-law James Fitzgerald and his wife Barbara and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Calling hours will be from 3-7 PM on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at Dewhirst and Boles Funeral Home, 80 Broadway , Methuen, MA. A Celebration of Life will take place on Friday, August 30, 2019 at 10:30 AM at First Congregational Church, 6 Church St., Kingston, NH 03848. Family and guests are kindly asked to meet at the church.
In lieu of flowers, family and friends may consider a contribution in Ruth’s memory to the First Congregational Church, 141 North St., Kennebunkport, ME 04046 or First Congregational Church, PO Box 203, Kingston, NH 03848. To leave an online condolence, please visit Ruth’s tribute page at www.dewhirstbolesfuneral.com.
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