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Ruth Alden Jones Ryan

June 14, 2012
Lake Placid News

MALONE - With steadfast grace and dignity, Ruth Alden Jones Ryan, of Malone, died at home May 2, 2012.

Born on November 10, 1908, Malone, she was 103 years old. She was the younger daughter of James R. Jones and Marion Alden Fay, and sister to Eleanor Catherine Jones, all of whom pre-deceased her.

She was also predeceased by her husband, Arthur Ryan who died in 1996.On her mother's side, Ruth was the great-granddaughter of Dr. Calvin Skinner, and the granddaughter of JW Fay. She was as well, an 11th generation descendant of John and Priscilla Alden, who themselves arrived in Plymouth, Mass. in 1620. This particular line ends.

Her survivors are numerous and include her cousin, Eleanor Fay of Amityville, Long Island; a step-daughter, Beverly Anderson and her husband Alan of Short Hills, NJ; a step-son Taylor Ryan of Southport, NC; a step-daughter-in-law, Gloria Ryan of Wyckoff, NJ; her grandson, Shawn Ryan and his family of Atlanta, GA; four great-nephews and great-nieces: Jeffrey Wells of Ridgefield, CT; Linda Wells of New York, NY; Jennifer Wells of Novato, CA; David Wells of Darien, CT; and eight great-great-nephews & nieces. Apologies to those unmentioned.

Ruth's curriculum vitae is rich, varied, and long. It can be found elsewhere. However, Ruth was particularly proud of having collaborated with her sister, Eleanor, in the creation of their gift shop, My Sister and I. Over its 30 plus year history, it would become a Malone institution, acquiring a national reputation. Ruth became a nationally syndicated columnist in a trade magazine, The Gift and Art Buyer Guide. Eleanor died in 1971; the shop would close its doors two years later. Memory preserves it.

A second death, that of her husband and dance partner, Arthur Ryan, would ironically prompt the opening of a second gift shop, Hug Bugs Inc. She was always grateful for Tom's help and Bev's enthusiastic support. In both instances, Ruth would share her extraordinary sense of the beautiful with anyone who stepped through the door. Many still remember.

Ruth's love for, and her life-long devotion to the care of animals, (especially cats - "A Siamese would be nice.") deserves our acknowledgement and our gratitude. The SPCA of Franklin County was for many years, nearly a family enterprise.

She will always be remembered as the lady who saved Veterans' Park from the state's heavy hand: concrete everywhere; spirit nowhere. This was emblematic of her love for her hometown. The three women of the Jones family are responsible for saving a short but critical stretch of Elm Street from commercial development, and preserving its aesthetic and historical character. We owe her much - and her mother and sister.

Exceptionally generous, a great listener (and conversationalist), with a caring eye for the underdog, an unmatched capacity for gratitude, this unique woman bore an unremitting devotion to the truth. She graced her time - and ours.

Ruth's life filled a century; her energy and creativity would fill two; her love, another. Line and color were her muses; she photographed and drew, shaped clay and wrote well: she painted the life she knew. She helped tell us who we are; and who we were. Thank you, Ruth.

Viewing was at St. Mark's Church on May 5 and immediately followed by a funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, Ruth and the family would prefer you support a charity of your choice - but don't forget the animals - especially, the cats.



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