Ruth H. Whitman

PORTLAND — Ruth H. Whitman, 91, passed away on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010, at Fallbrook Woods in Portland. She passed away peacefully in her sleep after a long and courageous battle with emphysema.
She was born on Oct. 8, 1919, in Flandreau, S.D., during a fall snowstorm. She was the daughter of Grace and Curtis Henry.
As a youngster growing up in the Midwest on the prairie, one of Ruth’s greatest loves was taking her younger brother, John, down to the Sioux River. It was there that they spent their summer days swimming, playing and eating sandwiches made of mayonnaise and relish.
During her high school years, Ruth was a voracious reader and excelled in her studies, which included English, shorthand, bookkeeping and business subjects. She was a strong athlete who loved sports of all types. She played basketball, softball, and was an excellent swimmer and gymnast. She was a member of a singing quartet in high school and had a deep love of music and theater. Declamation class was the arena in which Ruth stood out as a leading debater.
Ruth’s desire to attend college was thwarted by the Depression. However, being a lifelong learner, she went on to Washington, D.C. to become a stenographer to three admirals in the United States Navy Department. Ruth attended the funeral of Navy Admiral King. While in Washington, she met and fell in love with J. Richard Whitman, whom she married, and who became her beloved husband of 42 years. They later settled in Portland with their two daughters, Judy and Jackie.
For 18 years, Ruth worked at Maine Savings Bank part-time in the New Accounts Department and, also, did regular bank telling work. She was an active member of Eastern Star in Portland. Her husband, Joseph Richard, was a Mason and a member of the Kora Temple in Portland.
Ruth always had a love for fashion. This was fostered throughout her childhood by a very special aunt, Hazel Babcock, who owned and operated a women’s clothing store in Pipestone, Minn. Ruth had a great love of family. She often stated that she felt that the reason she was put on earth was to have a family. She often stated that her two daughters and her husband were the lights of her life.
After her husband’s retirement, they moved to Barefoot Bay, Fla. Ruth became a charter member of the United Church of Christ in Sebastian. She was a volunteer in the Sebastian Community Hospital for four years. While in Florida, Ruth enjoyed riding her bike, playing golf and bridge and working on her ceramics and other crafts. However, after the death of her husband, she was happy to return to her beloved state of Maine in June of 2000.
Ruth is survived by her two daughters, Dr. Judith A. Whitman of Bethel and Jacqueline W. Cole of Casco; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; her half brother, William Fuller of Minnetonka, Minn.; her half sister, Janet Adams Baker of Greely, Colo.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Grace and Curtis Henry; her sister, Arlene, her brother, John Henry; and her husband, Joseph Richard Whitman.
There will be a memorial service in celebration of Ruth’s life at The Congregational Church, UCC, at 282 Main Street, Cumberland, on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. The Rev. Diane Bennekamper will officiate. Burial will be in the summer, date and time to be announced later. Arrangements are by Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford Street, Portland. Please visit for any additional information and to sign Ruth’s guest book.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART), 302 Range Road, Cumberland, ME 04021 or to The Casco Library, Meadow Road, Route 121, Casco, ME 04015.

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