Ruth Anna Heise Reynolds, age 90, of Watertown, CT, and Fresno, CA, passed away in Fresno on December 6, 2017. Her death certificate listed Alzheimers as the cause, although a fall certainly hastened it. Many of her family visited just before her death, and her partner, John R. Donaldson was with her every day. Mrs. Reynolds was born in Middletown, CT, on September 30, 1927. She spent many summers in Guilford, CT, where she loved the old city, founded in 1639, and sailing on Long Island Sound. Ruth graduated from Hamden High School, near New Haven, in 1945 and from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA in 1949. While she was in her first year of teaching elementary school, she went to a square dance, accidentally the same one John Donaldson and his friend Joseph M. Reynolds attended. Joe was just finishing his PhD in Physics at Yale; she and Joe met, fell in love and were married in September of 1950. John sang at their wedding. It was just in time to make the long drive to Baton Rouge, LA, where Joe joined the Physics Department at Louisiana State University. Before they left, Ruth introduced her college roommate, Shirley J. Brown to John. They were married in 1951, and the couples managed to visit every few years. As Joe moved up the ranks, finishing as a Vice President of the University, Ruth taught school, dropped out to have her children, and returned to teaching and the school library she loved. They had interesting lives as Joe added important committees and research fellowships, with travel first to the Netherlands for several months and later to Italy and other parts of Europe, Asia, and frequent meetings in Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto, CA. Ruth hosted at least one Nobel Prize winner in her home, and at an event in the Vatican, shook the hand of the Pope. In addition to this busy life, Ruth and Joe had three children, Molly Elizabeth, John Shelby, and Wendy Lee Reynolds. The family visited her parents in Connecticut and his in Tennessee most summers until their deaths. Joe died of Alzheimers in 1997, and John sang at his funeral. In 2000, Ruth moved back to Connecticut to be near her family. She particularly wanted to know her grandchildren as they grew up. By now there were four, Grace Lee Nield, Ruth Anne Nield, Alexander Daigo Kuribayashi, and Ingrid Mirei Kuribayashi. Ruth lived in Watertown, CT, and in Indian Cove, Guilford, CT fairly peacefully. However, in 2007, her old friend John Donaldson, by now Professor Emeritus John R. Donaldson, and single again after his wife Shirley died of Alzheimers also, visited on his way to sing at the Bershire Choral Festival in Massachusetts. They fell in love and spent most of the next ten years as devoted partners, mostly in Fresno, but with months in Connecticut and trips to Switzerland, Italy, Greece, China, Yellowstone National park, Indian country, south to Tennessee and north to Watertown, NY. At home there was church, singing, bridge playing, concert going, local trips, and of course doctor appointments. It was a fortunate ten years. Ruth's parents, Dorothy Rae Baldwin Heise and Arthur Rudolph Heise of Woodbridge, CT; her husband, Joseph Melvin Reynolds of Baton Rouge, LA; her sister, Dorothy Lee Heise Helmreich of Norton, MA, have passed. Ruth is survived by her three children, now Molly Kuribayashi, John Reynolds, and Wendy Nield; her four grandchildren; and Grace's spouse, Amanda Nield. There will be a Memorial Service at Community United Church of Christ, 5550 N. Fresno St., Fresno, CA, on Sunday, January 21, 2018, at 2:00 p.m., with Ruth's favorite dessert, ice cream, at a following reception. Any gift remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice.
Published by Fresno Bee on Jan. 14, 2018.
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5 Entries
Dear Mom, We are thinking of you on your birthday. You would have been 91. We miss so much. Love, Molly
Molly Kuribayashi
September 30, 2018
January 19, 2018
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Ingrid, Alexander, Shingo, Molly Kuribayashi
January 19, 2018
Molly Kuribayashi
January 19, 2018
John and Family,
Always enjoyed Ruth at the bridge table. You and Ruth's family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Mary Ann Clark
January 14, 2018
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