Ruth Stephan

Ruth Edgerton Baker Stephan, age 98, passed away on July 6, 2015 at Sunrise at Lower Makefield in Yardley, PA after a lengthy illness. Born in Vernon Center, Connecticut, on March 3, 1917, Ruth was predeceased by her beloved husband John, and her mother, Mary Edgerton Baker. Her two daughters, Marilyn Stephan Berman (Charles Berman) of Charlotte, NC and Arline Stephan (James Dawson) of Yardley, Pa. survive her. Ruth was a long time resident of West Hartford, having moved there with her mother in the late 1920’s. She attended Sedgwick Grammar and Alfred Plant Junior High School and graduated from William Hall High School in 1935. Ruth had a passion for living and helping others. As a young woman she developed life-long friendships through church and work and service organizations, especially the Order of Eastern Star and the Order of Rainbow Girls. Ruth was a life-long member of United Methodist Church of Hartford (formerly St. Paul’s Methodist Church, Hartford) where she served as organist, choir director and Sunday school teacher. At St. Paul’s she directed many choral and musical performances. Ruth also served as lay leader and participated regularly in the Women’s Society and their many activities. During World War II, she was a prolific letter-writer to men of the church serving in Europe and the Pacific. Their hundreds of responses are now housed in the Connecticut State Archives. Ruth lived a full life and had many interests. As a young adult, she enjoyed a variety of travel adventures, including the burlesque review at Minsky’s in New York City, a cruise to Cuba, a cross-country train trip in the 40’s with her friends who were service women in WW II, and a tour of Hawaii with friends. For her 80th birthday she visited Germany with her two daughters. Ruth spent time riding horses at dude ranches in upstate New York and she rode frequently on the horse trails in Keney Park in Hartford. As an accomplished musician who played the piano and organ, she taught lessons from home and often served as organist at weddings. Ruth also loved cake decorating and making wedding and specialty cakes. Ruth met the love her life, John E. Stephan (her clown), in the mid-1930’s while he was recuperating in the hospital after losing his left arm in a farm accident in South Windsor. Ruth and John were married October 9, 1943, and celebrated 52 years together before he passed away in 1995. Ruth and John enjoyed the company of their many friends and family members at get-togethers, celebrations, and reunions at their home in West Hartford and at their Lake Congamond cottage in Southwick, MA. In retirement, they owned and thrived in their antique and collectibles business. As she was an only child, Ruth cherished her life as a member of the Stephan (Steppen) family. Ruth leaves behind her sisters-in law Alice Farese, Margaret Zanks, Katherine Sperry of Connecticut and her brothers-in-law Joseph Steppen of Connecticut and Frank Steppen and Albert Steppen and their wives of Ocala , FL, along with several generations of caring nieces and nephews. Ruth also leaves a cousin, Margaret Fish of Bolton, CT. She was predeceased by brothers-in-law Tony Steppen, Charlie Steppen and sisters-in-law Tessie Talamini, Ann Fluckinger and Francis Margelony. Special recognition and thanks go to the many loving care-givers at Sunrise in Lower Makefield in Yardley, PA, and the Gentiva Hospice team. Memorial donations can be made to United Methodist Church of Hartford, 571 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105 or to Citizens Restoring Congamond, P.O. Box 117, West Suffield, CT 06093. Funeral Service and visitation will be held on Saturday, July 11, 2015, at Watkins Funeral Home, 142 East Center Street, Manchester, at 10 a.m. with service beginning at 11:30. Burial will follow at the Old South Cemetery in Tolland, where members of her family have been laid to rest since before the American Revolution.

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