Barton, Mary Ruth Odell Mother and mentor, passed away on March 30, 2013 after a full life of 96 years. Mary Ruth was born in Peoria, Illinois, the daughter of Jay Geddes and Ruth (Anicker) Odell. She was raised in St. Paul, MN attending University High School, and studied history at the University of Minnesota. She graduated in '39, a member of the University Mortar Board. Mary Ruth married Roger Wesley Barton, a classmate, in 1941. After Pearl Harbor, Roger joined the Navy as an electronics officer. The newlyweds were fortunate to be based together in Trinidad where their first two daughters were born. After the war, they settled in Aurora, Illinois where Roger began a career in international business with the Stephens- Adamson Mfg Co. While raising 6 children, Mary Ruth had opportunities to join Roger on travel in Europe and South America, which fueled her continued interest in history and politics. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters. The Bartons moved to Ithaca, NY in 1971 where Mary Ruth engaged and inspired many students through the Campus Crusade for Christ at Cornell University. Roger passed away in 1985, and Mary Ruth moved to La Jolla, CA in 1997. Mary Ruth was an outdoorsman, starting with childhood trips to the north and continuing at a home she shared with Roger's family in Lutsen, Minnesota. Well into her nineties, she shared her love of the outdoors, gardening, and canoeing with Lutsen neighbors as well as 4 generations of the Barton family. Mary Ruth leaves behind a legacy of elegance, talent and faith. She is survived by her children: Kittie Barton Frantz, Pasadena, CA; Ann Wade Barton, Evanston, Illinois; Mary Barton Nees, Johnson City, Tennessee; Laura Barton Williams, Tustin, CA; Roger Westwood Barton, Afton, MN; John Jay Barton, Ithaca, NY; as well as thirteen grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren. An interment service will be held at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN at 10:00 am on April 26th.
Published in Star Tribune on Apr. 21, 2013