Ruby V. Firth
As a child she attended Dorchester’s oneroom schoolhouse with her sisters. At age 9, her father died and the family relocated to Bristol.
Upon graduation from high school, Ruby and was given three choices: She could become a nurse or a teacher, or find a husband. Nicknamed “Goldie” because of her sunny personality and golden hair, Ruby decided to pursue a career in education and went to the Plymouth Normal School, now Plymouth State University, where she earned her master’s degree.
During the summer,
Ruby worked at Whittemore Restaurant and Inn on Newfound Lake where she met Arnold Perry Cayes. They married and she moved to Seattle where he was stationed.
She gave birth to their daughter, Joan Aletea Cayes, in 1945. Arnold died just after the war ended, in an automobile accident. One of Ruby’s life stories was about her journey home with her infant daughter and the kindness they encountered from returning troops who brought her warm milk for the baby and clean towels as needed. Now a single mother, Ruby stayed with her mother for a while before she returned to teaching and was able to raise her daughter with her mother’s support.
Years later, Ruby reconnected with former schoolmate Fred R. Firth who was moonlighting as a school bus driver. He recognized Ruby as she led her first grade class across the school parking lot. They were married shortly afterwards. A few years later, she gave birth to their son, Brian S. Firth, in 1960.
They moved from Laconia to Indian Point in Hebron. Ruby retired from teaching to become a stay-at-home mother and Fred went to work at IPC after Scott and Williams closed.
Ruby loved to bake and cook gourmet meals. The family enjoyed boating, fishing, waterskiing, snowmobiling and the nature around the lake. Berry-picking was one of Ruby’s favorite things to do. Although Ruby appeared to be a delicate woman, she celebrated her independence and insisted on doing things like stack her own wood. She lived life on her own terms.
During her life, she and Fred traveled to Europe where she drank wine and ate the local cheese and bread. Instead of staying in hotels, they camped in village squares. They visited many of the places where Fred had seen action in World War II. She also traveled across the United States several times, visiting national parks.
Ruby was patient, kind, and extremely intelligent. She survived cancer and several surgeries. On one occasion, her surgeon told her she would have to live with the support of a machine. Her response was, “We’ll see about that!” Ruby managed to get off that machine and live for several years independently at home until she died on Dec. 22, 2011, from a heart attack.
She will be missed and remembered as a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, teacher, and a true friend.
Ruby is survived by her husband, Fred R, Firth; daughter Joan Evans of Watsonville, Calif.; son Brian Scott Firth of Hebron; sisters Bertha Kowalczyk of Springfield, Penn., Marion Woodward of Bristol, and Mildred Proctor Lindsay of Hill; and many nieces and nephews.
There will be a graveside service on Saturday, May 5, at 10 a.m. at Homeland Cemetery in Bristol.