Obituary for Ruth Starkweather
LEONARDSVILLE: Ruth Starkweather, 99, passed away on April 8, 2017, in the comfort of her home.
Ruth was born on March 6, 1918 in Unadilla Forks, NY, the youngest child of Charles and Mary Rogers Ellsworth. She was raised in Unadilla Forks and on the family farm in the Town of Brookfield, attending the District 20 school at DeLancy’s Corners and graduating from Leonardsville Central School. She also graduated from the Utica School of Commerce in 1936 and was employed in Utica and Madison, prior to her marriage on July 27, 1940 to Robert J. Plumley.
After their marriage, Ruth and Bob opened a photographic studio in Utica, which they ran until they relocated to Williamsville, NY, where they worked in the aircraft manufacturing industry throughout World War II, building fighter planes. In 1946, they relocated to Leonardsville and purchased the Leonardsville Hardware Company, which they ran until Bob’s death in the fall of 1975. Ruth continued to run the hardware business until her retirement in 1984.
In 1977, Ruth was united in marriage to Albert W. Starkweather of Brownsville, NY, a union which lasted until his death on August 9, 2013. From the date of their marriage, Ruth renewed her interest in art and travel, taking classes at Munson Williams Proctor and traveling the world, starting with a 5 week honeymoon motor trip across the United States.
She and Al visited and toured many countries, going to the old Soviet Union and mainland China, as soon as they were available to tourists. They set foot on all of the continents, including Antarctica, and crossed the Arctic Circle for visits to Svalbard, Norway and Baffin Island, Canada. She often said, “I’ve been around the world, both ways and north to south.”
Among Ruth’s interests were the history of the Town of Brookfield, having written articles for, as well as having been interviewed for, several histories concerning the Town and area; the environment, having been a founding member of the Upper Unadilla Valley Association; and civic organizations and activities.
She was a member of the Leonardsville Methodist Church and the church’s Women’s Club, as well as a 50-year member of the “Fortnightly” book club of Unadilla Forks. As a young woman, she was also a Girl Scout leader in Leonardsville.
Ruth is survived by her nieces, Janet Graeber, M.D. (Geoff); nephews, Deane H. Ellsworth (Amy), Charles A. Ellsworth M.D. (Anais); John L. Ellsworth (Patricia); Lynn Ellsworth (Jackie); and Frederick C. Degen, Esq. (Connie); as well as several grand nieces and nephews, great grand nieces and nephews, extended family and friends. She is also survived by step-sons, John E. Starkweather and Albert W. Starkweather, Jr. and his children, Lisa (Jerry) and Karen. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Margaret Ellsworth (Ward), and many nieces and nephews in the Plumley family. Ruth was predeceased by her husbands; her brothers, Deane, Ward and Carl; her sister, Doris Degen; and a niece and her spouse, Mary Elizabeth Schrauger (Raymond).
A memorial service will be held at 10am Saturday, May 6, 2017 at the Leonardsville United Methodist Church, 2051 State Route 8, Leonardsville, NY. The family will greet friends at the conclusion of the service.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 10 S. Main St., Waterville, NY.