Ruth Stapleton

Obituary of Ruth C. Stapleton

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of Ruth C. Stapleton's passing at the age of 101, on Monday, April 22, at UPMC, surrounded by her loving family as she embarked on her new journey. Ruth's remarkable and lengthy journey began in Jordan, Minnesota, on October 15, 1922. She was born to Viggo Jay and Stella, who nurtured her with love and care. The family later moved to Bath, NY, where her father assumed the role of mayor, and Ruth became the first drum majorette at Haverling High School. After graduating, she ventured to Jamestown, NY, where she attended Jamestown Business College, graduating in 1940. The college was situated in the old Vikings Building. Ruth began her career as a secretary at Crescent Tool and later transitioned to becoming the Executive Assistant in the Research Department at Harbison Carborundum. Her journey took an exciting turn when she and her husband, Douglas Stapleton, tied the knot in January of 1943, after a serendipitous meeting at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. They eloped to Gadsen, Alabama, before Douglas was deployed to New Guinea during WWII. Ruth cherished the love letters she received from Douglas during his time in the Pacific, which later inspired her to write a book. Douglas, a mechanical and chemical engineer, safely returned home in 1946. The couple settled in Jamestown after living briefly in Cleveland OH, where they raised three children. Ruth's entrepreneurial spirit shone through when she became the first female franchise owner in the nation, purchasing the Lakewood Dairy Queen and opening the Food Factory. Even after retiring from the Dairy Queen, she continued to pursue her passion for business as the Assistant Office Manager at the Reg Lenna Theatre, a place she adored. She relished her time there, especially during Lucy Fests, where she had the opportunity to meet numerous renowned performers, serving as an ambassador to the city's visitors. Upon retiring once more, Ruth moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, where she dedicated herself to serving as the treasurer for her Library Condo Association. Florida held a special place in her heart, as it became a hub for family gatherings and cherished moments with her seven grandchildren: Laura, Benjamin (Rachel), and Alexander (Tracy) Ludwig; David Snow (Alicia); Jennifer Stapleton (Dr.Juan Calle); Dr. Amanda Stapleton (Dr. Eric Helm); and Tyler Stapleton (Jackie). After spending 13 memorable years in Florida, Ruth returned to Lakewood to be closer to her family. She could often be found on her patio, engrossed in a good book, always welcoming visitors for a chat. She took pleasure in tending to her garden, observing birds, and basking in the warmth of the sunshine. When not immersed in a book, Ruth indulged in her hobbies of painting, cross-stitching, ceramics, sewing, and crocheting. Ruth is survived by her three children, Kathleen L. Ludwig (Charles) of Ashville, NY., Elizabeth A. Snow (the late Jim Snow) of Lakewood, NY, and David R. Stapleton (Wickie) of Ashville, NY. Ruth delighted in the company of her ten great-grandchildren: Jonah and Abbigail Ludwig; Logan and Eden Ludwig; Riley and Carter Snow; Lucas, Natalie, and Adrienne Helm; and Ethan Calle. She has several nieces and nephews. She had a close relationship with her nephew, Craig Johnson (Kathy) of Sylvania, Ohio. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Viggo Jay and Stella Madsen, husband Douglas Stapleton, siblings Louise, Dale, and Harold Madsen, and son-in-law Jim Snow. Ruth and Douglas were proud members of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, spanning five generations. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday at St. Luke's, with Rev. Jessica Frederick officiating at 11 am, followed by interment at Lakeview Cemetery. Friends may pay their respects from 4 to 7 pm Friday in the Lind Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to be made to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, honoring Ruth's enduring faith and legacy of love.
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