Ruth Ford

Obituary
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    - Norma Hammons
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    - John and Natalie Fortin
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RYE - Ruth (Blais) Ford, 69, of Rye, a selfless humanitarian and vigorous contributor to the Seacoast community, passed away peacefully Wednesday evening, July 11, 2012 at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Born in Manchester on July 22, 1942, Ruthie was the daughter of the late William J. and Cora V. (Hartford) Blais. She attended Keene State College and graduated in 1966. Ruthie was a visionary who was guided by the principle that life was a gift from God; therefore, every life is worthwhile. A gentle person with deep inner strength, she was a natural leader who took her beliefs and made action of them, energizing those who crossed her path.

Ruthie worked tirelessly for women and their children; she lived a lifetime campaign focused on propelling women forward in motherhood. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Ruthie began volunteering at Seacoast Birthright, a pregnancy counseling center in Portsmouth. In 1987, she became regional director and oversaw the expansion of Birthright International throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment was arranging for the donation of a home in Greenland that became New Generation, beginning the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. As a co-founder of this center for homeless pregnant woman, Ruthie has assured that new life continues to come into the world to enrich us all. New Generation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. To date, 407 women have lived at New Generation and 268 babies have been born to New Generation moms.

Ruthie was a Eucharistic minister and a lector at St. Theresa Parish in Rye Beach for 22 years. She served on various committees for N.H. Catholic Charities for over 20 years and was an officer and director of the Bishop's Charitable Assistance Fund, raising over $2 million for distribution to small social service agencies throughout New Hampshire. Last month, St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover awarded Ruthie its distinguished "Lux in Tenebris"(Light In Darkness) award for significant and enduring contributions to humanity. Ruthie was recently promoted to "Lady Grand Cross" for the Equestrian Order Of The Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; its highest and most prestigious office.

She loved to cook, was an avid reader, traveled extensively and frequently accompanied her husband, Pat, to conferences around the world. Ruthie touched countless lives with her compassion, understanding and her passionate concern for women and families. She will be deeply missed by countless people, yet she leaves behind a beautiful legacy.

In addition to her husband of 49 years, Patrick H. "Pat" Ford III of Rye, she leaves her children, her pride and joy, Patrick H. IV and his wife, Susan W., of Exeter, Julie F. and her husband, Col. Timothy J. Bailey, USMC, of Hampton, Shawn C. and his wife, Pollyanna G., of North Hampton, Kenneth W. and his wife, Ann Marie L., of Barrington, Bruce A. and his wife, Paula H., of Dover and Timothy M. and his wife, Lori L., of Somersworth. She also leaves her beloved grandchildren, Ashlee C., Rhiannon V., Lauren O., Tucker J., Sampson H., Connor R., Patrick H. V., Lochlan E., Jack R., Jake M., Cole M., Mya A., Mawell J., Ella A., Cooper J., Matthew J., as well as Brandon J., Geoffrey P. and his wife Tasha of Dover, and her great-grandson, Ethan Smith. Ruthie will be missed by her brother, Kevin M. and his wife, Julie T. Blais, of Hampton, and her sister, Brenda B. Machos of West Stewartstown. Nieces, nephews, extended family and countless friends will remember Ruth with a smile!

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services:Family and friends are invited to call to the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home, 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, Monday, 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at Saint Theresa of Lisieux Parish, 815 Central Road, Rye Beach, Tuesday, July 17, at 10 a.m. Interment in the family lot at Central Cemetery, Rye, will immediately follow her funeral Mass. In Ruthie's memory, contributions may be directed to New Generation, a shelter home for homeless women that Ruth founded in 1987, New Generation Inc., 568 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland 03840.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Robert K. Gray Jr. Funeral Home, 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton. For more information, go to Robertkgrayjrfuneralhome.com.


Funeral Home
Stockbridge Funeral Home - Exeter
141 Epping Road
Exeter, NH 03833
(603) 772-0400
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Published in Union Leader on July 15, 2012