Mary Ruth Barton

Barton, Mary Ruth

Mary Ruth Odell Barton, mother and mentor, passed away on March 30, 2013 after a full life of 96 years. Mary Ruth was born in Peoria, IL, the daughter of Jay Geddes and Ruth Esther Odell. She was raised in St. Paul, MN, attending University High, then studying history at the University of Minnesota. She graduated as a proud member of the Mortar Board. Mary Ruth married Roger Wesley Barton, her classmate from the University, in 1941. They were together for 44 years until his death. Beginning their marriage at the outset of World War II, Roger found his place in the Navy as an electronics officer, and the couple was lucky to be housed together at bases in Portland, ME and Trinidad. Their first two daughters were born during wartime service. Afterwards, the family settled in Aurora, IL, where Roger began an international business career with the Stephens-Adamson Company, and the family expanded. In addition to raising 6 children, Mary Ruth had opportunities to join Roger for trips in Europe and South America, which fueled her interest in history and politics. Stateside, Mary Ruth was an active member of the League of Women Voters. Mary Ruth was an outdoorsman, starting with childhood trips to northern Minnesota and continuing well into her nineties at the vacation home she shared with Roger's family in Lutsen, MN. Roger and Mary Ruth moved to Ithaca, NY in 1971, where Roger worked with the Morse Chain Division of Borg Warner Corp until retirement. Mary Ruth became interested in the spiritual and academic life of students at Cornell University, making her home available after Roger's death as a place of retreat and discussion. In 1997, Mary Ruth purchased her brother David's home in La Jolla, CA. Most mornings she could be found walking the park with the Friends of County Animal Shelters, along with a pack of rescued dogs, on leash.

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, IL; Mary Barton Nees, Johnson City, TN; Laura Barton Williams, Tustin, CA; Roger Westwood Barton, Afton, MN; John Jay Barton, Ithaca, NY; as well as 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church at 2 p.m. on April 16, 2013. Her ashes will be interred at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN at 10 a.m. on April 26th.In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Rancho Coastal Humane Society of Encinitas, CA or to Campus Crusade for Christ, c/o Stephanie Betts, of Ithaca, NY, jw.betts@cru.org.


Published in Ithaca Journal on Apr. 13, 2013