Ruth Beebe

2 entries
  • "I knew Ruth at the Haydenville Church. She was always..."
    - Lisa Hall
  • "Ever since I was a little girl, I could count on my Aunt..."
    - Diana Bedard (aka Stacy)
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AMHERST – Ruth May Beebe, formerly of Amherst, was called home on June 7, 2018, after a period of declining health.

She was born on Nov. 8, 1923, the daughter of the late Arthur L. Beebe and Marion (Spafford) Beebe. She attended elementary school in Williamsburg and graduated from Smith Vocational High School (1940), Williamsburg High School (1942), Northampton Commercial College (1943), and the University of Massachusetts (1949) with a B.A. in English Literature.

Ruth held secretarial positions in Northampton and Amherst, retiring in 1988 as executive secretary for Five Colleges, Inc. After retiring she accepted an assignment at Fort River Elementary School and later at Wildwood Elementary School as an instructional paraprofessional.

She had been active with the former Haydenville Women's Club, had volunteered with the former Advisory Committee on Recreation in Williamsburg and from 1974-1978 served on the Board of Directors of the Western Mass Girl Scout Council. For a number of years, she enjoyed volunteering with Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity. Up to her declining health she was an active member of the Haydenville Congregational Church.

In 1923 Ruth's parents set up a tiny roadside stand on Rt. 9 in Haydenville where they sold sandwiches and sodas to passersby. They gradually developed a larger stand and then rebuilt in 1928 to a small restaurant called "Beebe's Lunch." Ruth was one of the youngsters who were taught to handle duties so the business could continue. She was 11 when she began working in the kitchen and within a year she was waiting on customers.

In 1937 the "CEO" of the restaurant, Ruth's mother, passed away and "Beebe's Lunch" scaled back. Ruth continued working nights and weekends making sandwiches and sundaes. She accomplished this while completing secondary school with homework being fitted in between customers.

At age 19, following graduation from college, Ruth began work in the registrar's office at Smith College and in 1945 began studies at UMass.

In 1976 Ruth spent four weeks cycling around England getting to know her relatives and the country. She traveled over 400 miles by bicycle, a 10 speed Falcon which she bought in London and brought home with her.

Ruth's grandmother, Mary Otis Preston Spafford would have thought her persistent, persevering, and focused for transcribing seven years of letters she wrote her family from Huguenot Seminary in South Africa in the 1980's. While working days Ruth spent many evenings over nearly 15 years deciphering century old onion skin pages with faded ink. She went on to transcribe the entire collection of her letters and to self-publish a number of final copies to share with Mt. Holyoke College and family.

Ruth was an exceptional cook and her family enjoyed her many dinners and desserts, especially her strawberry rhubarb pies.

She is predeceased by her parents and her brothers Charles, Robert, and Howard. She leaves her sister Esther Mary Beebe (Julow) Stacy from Florida, with whom she had a memorable visit with in the spring.

She also leaves many nieces and nephews as well as many friends.

A gathering will be held on Saturday June 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. with a prayer service to follow at the Ahearn Funeral Home at 783 Bridge Rd, Northampton. A private burial will be held at a later date.

Donations can be made in Ruth's memory to the Haydenville Congregational Church, 143 Main St. Haydenville MA 01039, and VNA Hospice 168 Industrial Dr E #1, Northampton, MA 01060.

To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to
Funeral Home
Ahearn Funeral Home
783 Bridge Road
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 587-0044
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on June 13, 2018
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