Dudley, Ruth Ann (Milliken)
Ruth Ann Milliken Dudley died peacefully October 4, 2019 at the Masonicare Health Center in Wallingford, where she had resided with her husband Edwin prior to his death in early September. The couple had recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and Ruth her 99th birthday.
Ruth was the third of nine children – Gladys, Bill, Tom, Charles, Jack, Russ, Infant Bobbie, and Jean - all now deceased – born to the late John and Susie (Leach) Milliken of Coalton, Ohio. She is survived by many nephews and nieces, whose affection she valued especially after the death of her siblings.
Widowed unexpectedly in 1929, Ruth's mother Susie Milliken took her family through the depression decade ahead with a firm hand and a loving disposition. Ruth attended elementary school in Coalton and high school in Chillicothe. With scholarship support, he enrolled in Baptist Missionary Training School in Chicago, graduating in 1945. After spending a year at Linfield College in Oregon, she came east to study at the Hartford Seminary. While there, she worked part-time at the Christian Activities Council, an organization providing services to Hartford area churches. It was there in 1948 that she met Ed, who was a waterfront counselor for a CAC summer camp. During the next year, both Ruth Ann and Ed stayed on at CAC working full-time, and they married in Hartford in 1949.
For the next twelve years, Ruth was busy as a homemaker with their family of three children: Paul (1951), Anne (1954) and Tom (1958). Also during this time, the couple spent the year 1953-54 in Denmark as students in a folk high school. Annie was born there early Easter morning.
In 1962, Ruth Ann began study at Yale Divinity School, earning a Master of Arts in Religion degree in 1965. Then, after serving as Christian Education director in two local churches, she joined the CE department of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, becoming head of the department in 1974 – the first woman executive in the 200-year history of the Conference! While there, Ruth created a resource center – a library and media resource for the use of Christian educators in local UCC churches. The Ruth Dudley Resource Collection – so-named by the Connecticut Conference – remains in use these forty years later.
On retirement in 1985, Ruth Ann and Ed went to Turkey for two years to work at a UCC-related girls' preparatory school in Izmir. Ed taught mathematics, while Ruth volunteered with the school library, tutoring, and community services such as the orphanage and bookmobile. Ruth and Ed retained many fond memories of this overseas experience, and kept in touch with a number of their former students and associates from the school.
In 1987, Ruth Ann and Ed returned to their North Haven home. The couple picked up again with church and community activities while embracing a new identity as active grandparents. Living into their 80's with increasing infirmity, Ruth Ann and Ed sold their 150-year old house in 2010 and moved to assisted living at Ashlar Village in Wallingford, and subsequently to the nearby Masonicare Health Center.
Ruth is survived by her children Paul (Carol) of Glastonbury, CT, Anne (Alan Taft), of Portland, OR and Tom (Fiona) of Weaverville, NC, her grandson Owen of Brooklyn, NY, as well as numerous nephews, nieces and grandnephews and nieces in Ohio and the Midwest. She was predeceased by her husband Edwin, who died September 6, 2019.
Ruth will be remembered as a devoted wife, loving parent and grandparent, warm friend, reliable co-worker, and a devout but unpretentious Christian. She was a cheerful giver - good-natured, quick to laugh, considerate and generous toward others, always ready to put her shoulder to the wheel of any project or task that would benefit from her contribution.
Service plans will be announced at a later date. In place of floral offerings, memorial gifts may be made to the North Haven Congregational Church, 28 Church Street, North Haven, CT 06473 or to the Masonic Charity Foundation of CT, P.O. Box 70, Wallingford, CT 06492. Arrangements in care of the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church St., Guilford. To share a memory or leave condolences, visit www.guilfordfuneralhome.com