Ruth Lucas Thurber passed away on January 21, 2022 at the age of 103. Beloved wife of Thornton Thurber (deceased). Mother of Ann Thurber Huffman and David Allen Thurber (deceased). Sister of Barbara Fraser, Colorado and sister of Kenneth Lucas (deceased) (Shirley Lucas, Florida.) Grandmother of Elizabeth Huffman Horwatt, (John ), William L Huffman III, Leslie Huffman Bosso, (Jeremy) and Jon Thurber (Christie). Great Grandmother of Robbie, Charlie, Sam, Jack, Hannah and Will.
Ruth was born in Lakewood, Ohio on November 28, 1918 during the first worldwide pandemic. She was quite the tomboy growing up. One time she and a friend roller- skated downtown from Lakewood. They were too tired to roller skate back home so they went to see Ruth's Uncle Ernie at the Weideman Pickle Company. He gave them each a dime to ride the streetcar home, and a jar of pickles. She met her future husband playing shuffle board at Linwood Park in Vermilion, OH when she was 13. She often roller skated past his house in Lakewood trying to catch a glimpse of him. Lakewood High School was her alma mater and where she discovered her love of art. She took classes in ceramics and watercolors at Cleveland Institute of Art. Ruth attended Ohio Wesleyan University where she joined Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. The Great Depression derailed the rest of her college years, and she came home to help the family. Odd jobs along the way included running an elevator in Halles Department Store, picking corn at Pickerings farm in Avon, and being a jeep driver for an Army officer at the Cleveland Bomber Plant during World War II. In 1940 Ruth married Thornton Thurber, the handsome young man from the shuffle board court. He was a lieutenant in the Naval Reserves, and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he taught celestial navigation to Navy pilots.
Ruth and Thornton had two children after the war. Ruth was a Girl Scout Leader and President of the PTA at Kensington School in Rocky River. She volunteered for many different worthy causes over the years. She loved flowers and was an avid gardener. She was also a past president of Beach Cliff Garden Club and a member for more than fifty years. She created beautiful flower arrangements for flower shows and club events. Birds, animals and insects were always of interest to her. She planted milkweed for Monarch butterflies and enjoyed bird walks in the Metroparks.
Ruth was a woman of boundless energy. She started her own business, Ruth Thurber Interiors, in the 1960s and loved beautiful fabrics, bright colors, and artwork. She did design projects for Saint John Westshore Hospital, Metro Health and home interiors. She was still helping her friends decorate well into her eighties.
Ruth was known as Nana throughout the family. Her grandchildren remember her as great fun, allowing them to have ice cream with a tiny bit of kahlua after a Sunday morning walk to Rocky River park. She let them bake enormous chocolate chip cookies whenever they had a sleepover with her. She treated the family to Disney World, and traveled with each of her grandchildren to wonderful destinations like Hawaii, London, Washington DC and New York City. She was feisty, determined, generous and loving. When the great grandchildren arrived Ruth was thrilled with each of them. At family holidays the little ones would gather around her and share pictures they had drawn for her.
Ruth loved to travel with friends and visited 28 countries keeping a journal for each trip. Several times she had the unique experience of flying on the Concorde.
In her later years she lived at Normandy Senior Living in Rocky River where she took on the role of librarian. The Normandy honored her years of service by naming their library after her; now known as the Thurber Library.
Ruth always wanted to be a doctor, but that was never an option for her, so she decided to donate her body to Case Western Reserve Medical School as a small contribution to the medical community.
Contributions can be made to Rocky River Public Library, 1600 Hampton Rd, Rocky River, OH 44116. Or, Beach Cliff Garden Club, c/o Michelle Cox, 3 River Place, Rocky River, OH 44116. Memorial visitation will be held at the Busch Funeral Home, 21369 Center Ridge Road, Fairview Park on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 from 4-7pm. The family is requesting masks to be worn. (440) 333-9774. www.buschcares.com