Bangor, Maine—Ellen Ruth "Ruthie" Parkhurst is now on holiday with Jesus. She went to Heaven on Monday, September 26, 2016 at her home in Bangor. While she was having an afternoon nap, she suddenly and peacefully ended her journey here. God sent His angels to carry her Home. It was a shock to all of us, but God's timing is perfect.
Ruthie was born at 59 Milford Street, Bangor, on April 10, 1936, the seventh and last child of Leon E. and M. Vernice (Batchelder) Parkhurst. She was born with Cretinism (lack of thyroid) and was affected by this all of her life. Doctors told her parents that she would never live beyond the age of fourteen, but God had other plans. Instead of being placed in a home for mentally-challenged children, Ruthie lived with family until 2001 when her oldest sister and caregiver, Phyllis, passed away. Since then, Ruthie has happily lived in a Getchell group home in Bangor. She had many, many friends at the Getchell Agency who will sadly miss her joyous interaction with them.
When Ruthie was four years old, the family moved to 27 Forest Avenue, just steps away from Chapin Park. Never a day went by but what Ruthie was found at the Park. The whole neighborhood knew and loved Ruthie. Warren "Brownie" Brown, a Bangor policeman who manned the Park, was exceptionally kind to Ruthie and became one of her favorite friends. Since the Parkhurst home bordered on the Abraham Lincoln School property, Ruthie joined students in their recess games until 1960 when the Parkhurst family moved to Orrington.
Ruthie's father died in 1944 when she was eight years old, and our mother died in 1966 when Ruthie was 30 years of age. Ruthie remained with our brother, Nelson, and his wife, Isma, for a short while. Because her sister, Mildred, had cared for Ruthie over the years while our mother worked hard to make a home for her seven children, Ruthie went to live with Mildred and her husband, Earle "Pete" Belyea, at this time. Mildred passed away in 1990 when Ruthie was 54 years old. Phyllis, our oldest sister, then moved to Brewer where she cared for Ruthie at the Dartnell Complex until 2001 when Ruthie turned 65 years old, at which time Phyllis passed away.
At that time, Iver Crosby of Bangor became a very dear companion to Ruthie. No words can describe Iver's love for her, nor her awesome kindness in looking out for her welfare. For Ruthie, a weekly delight for many years was to have Iver take her to Glad Tidings Church on Sunday mornings. Ruthie has been a member of Glad Tidings Church all of her life except for a few years when she and our mother attended the Bible Baptist Church in Bangor during the early 1960s. Ruthie attended services at Glad Tidings inasmuch as she was able to (which was quite a bit for being handicapped with her mobility).
It would be wrong to exclude Ruthie's three Sunday school teachers from this write-up. They were Mary Davies, Evelyn (Allen) Crabtree and Mildred Keddrel. To Ruthie, these three ladies were absolute angels, and she never failed to greet them at Glad Tidings Church throughout her years. They were definitely part of Ruthie's extended family.
Ruthie attended a class for retarded children at Mary S. Snow School in Bangor for two years where Lillian Wall was teacher. While Mildred, our sister, was alive, Ruthie, as an adult, attended Work Skill Development Center on Pendleton Street in Brewer. While Ruthie was under Phyllis' care, she became enrolled in the Ralph Leek Elders Program at Amicus located on Hillside Avenue in Bangor. She faithfully attended this program until September 21st of this year. Ruthie loved her friends at this facility. Neither snow nor rain kept Ruthie home from one of her favorite places.
It must be noted that Ruthie had a hobby—Gospel music. She began with hymnals, then record albums. From those she moved on to audio cassettes and video tapes, and finally to CDs and DVDs. Gospel music was Ruthie's entertainment by the hour, day after day. Her two favorite songs were "No Not One," and "I'll Fly Away."
Ruthie is survived by her sister, Patricia Pickard and her husband, Carroll, of Bangor; sister-in-law Isma Parkhurst of Cumberland; special nieces—Jayne Beesley, Barbie Humphrey, Bonnie Erickson, Kim Oliver and Judy Canaar; nephews, Philip John Mitsch, Michael Mitsch, Stephen Parkhurst, Scott Parkhurst, Stephen Hastings, and Alan Gee; and several cousins.
She was predeceased by her parents; by three sisters—Phyllis Mitsch, Shirley Beesley, and Mildred Belyea; two brothers, Paul and Nelson; and a half-sister, Carol (Parkhurst) Thompson.
A memorial service will be held 1pm Monday, October 3, 2016 at Glad Tidings Church, 1033 Broadway, Bangor with the Rev. Ron Morris, Senior Pastor, officiating. Relatives and friends are welcome to call 12 noon until time of service Monday. Burial will be in the Parkhurst family plot, Waugh Cemetery, Levant, at a later date. A reception will be held at The Getchell Agency rec room at 1221 Broadway, Bangor immediately following the service Monday. Friends and family are invited to attend.
Those who wish to remember Ruthie in a special way may make gifts in her memory to Glad Tidings Church, 1033 Broadway, Bangor, Maine 04401.