Ruth Scotford Hartshorne
Ruth Scotford was born on July 10, 1913, in Chicago, Illinois, the eldest child and only daughter of John Ryland and Mable Matteson Scotford. She graduated from Glenville High School in 1931. She began her studies at Mount Holyoke College and then transferred to the University of Chicago to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in 1935. After graduation she took a year off to attend the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina. Then she earned her Master’s degree at Union Seminary from Columbia University in New York City in 1938.
On January 13, 1939, Ruth married Marion Holmes Hartshorne, son of Edward and Marian Holmes Hartshorne, in New York City. They lived for most of their married lives in Hamilton, New York, where her husband taught at Colgate University. Together they raised four children and were active members of the community. He predeceased her on May 10, 1988. Ruth was a member of the Baptist Church, the Fortnightly Club and the Hamilton Club. She co-founded the Hamilton Nursery School (Chenango Day Care) and Education Unlimited.
Ruth’s gratitude and love for life extended her days remarkably. She would quote herself on the subject of life: “I enjoy every minute of it, even when I don’t,” nicely capturing the paradoxical quality of human existence. One of her great joys was people. She loved having friends drop by. No appointment was necessary, and no day truly fulfilling without a visit. She loved the people of Hamilton, Colgate students and faculty, and friends from faraway times and places, so many of whom kept returning to see her throughout her life. She was very rich in friends.
But if nobody was around, she was in a book. She loved to read them and feel them in her hands (resisting digital devices to the end). She loved ideas and she loved stories. To be without a good book was cause for alarm. How blessed she was to have eyes and a mind that remained sharp until the end.
Ruth is survived by her brother, David, and her children – Jonathan, Richard, Timothy and Sarah. She has ten grandsons and one great-grandson. To have had Ruth as a mother is to have won the maternal lottery. Unconditional love the entire time. Behind us one hundred percent at every turn, with support and freedom. A woman of heart if there ever was one.
Another of Ruth’s favorite quotes (Robert Frost), delivered with gusto and conviction: “I may return if dissatisfied, with what I learned from having died.” We half expect her.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11am Saturday, July 2, 2016 from the First Baptist Church, Hamilton.
Interment will take place in the Colgate Cemetery, Hamilton at the convenience of her family.
The family will host a gathering at her home, 17 Hamilton St., Hamilton, on Saturday, July 2, from 1-3 pm.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Southern Madison Heritage Trust, PO Box 117, Hamilton, NY 13346
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton.