Ruth Cook Child LaFrance

Ruth Cook Child LaFrance, aged 95, died on September 30, 2017, at Perrysburg Care and Rehabilitation Center, Perrysburg. Known as Babe Ruth, she was born March 1, 1922, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the youngest of four children to Hazel Bleecker Child and Frederic Anthony Child. She graduated from Swarthmore High School (PA) in 1940, earned a BA from Middlebury College (VT) in 1944, and added an MA from Columbia University (NYC) as well as teacher training at the Lexington School for the Deaf in 1945. While attending a Middlebury barn dance for servicemen, she met our father, James Robinson La France, from Toledo, before he was shipped overseas to the South Pacific warfront. Upon his return, our parents got married August 18, 1945, on Martha’s Vineyard Island, and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and then Toledo and Perrysburg, Ohio. He predeceased her in 1999. Surviving are her children, Anne (Jim) Galindo, in Fostoria, Ohio, Margaret (Peg) LaFrance (Phil Caruthers), in Kensington, California, Steven LaFrance, in Webster, New York, and Julie (Jim) Funk, in Maumee. Her grandchildren are Rebecca (Dan) Ahern, Nick (Lisa) Bernath, Alex (Sarah) Caruthers, John LaFrance, Suzette (Reba) LaFrance, and Peter Funk. Her great-grandchildren are Jaylee and Adilyn Bernath, Xavier and Pax Ahern, as well as Isabelle Caruthers. Mom was a special woman. She was a world traveler: she took a train across Mongolia and visited China several times. She paddled down the Amazon, mingled with natives in Africa, and even cruised to Antarctica. In the 1940s, she was an ingenue at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre and later a cellist with the Perrysburg Symphony. She was a founding member of and on the flower guild at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Perrysburg as well a Girl Scout and later a leader. She was an artist, notably in watercolor. She loved sewing, knitting, gardening, especially orchids, eating chocolate and potato chips, reading mystery novels and biographies, doing New York Times crossword puzzles, listening to classical music, and watching baseball, especially the Dunedin Blue Jays (Toronto’s farm team), the Toledo Mud Hens (Tiger’s farm team) and the Detroit Tigers. As a teacher of hearing impaired children at Toledo Public Schools, retiring from Waite High School, she was able to put all four of us children through college. Mom grew up summering, sailing, and fishing at Rosemary, the family’s home on Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts, where for many years, we continued vacationing. Later, she became a “snowbird,” wintering at her house in Dunedin, Florida, returning in the spring to the homestead in Perrysburg. What did we as her children learn from Mom? First, that each of us was her favorite and that she was so glad that we all get along. As we were growing up, we heard: “No one will notice your hair/outfit in the dark.” “There is nothing happening after midnight that you should be doing.” “Leave the party while you are still having fun.” In response to the question of why piano lessons were needed, “You’ll be the life of the party.” When asked why we (unlike other families) used sterling silver every day, “What is the point of having it if you don’t enjoy it?” She gave “radar hugs” and told us to “go run around the block” and “Wipe that smirk off your face.” As well as “Don’t act so superior.” If we got too silly, “Stop it!” or “Quit it!” And, if things didn’t go our way, “Tough!” In response to an incompetent man on a sitcom, she told Steve, “I will not have a helpless son.” She advised Anne about college, “Take the education classes, just in case you need something to fall back on.” (I taught for 38 years). To those blocking her view at baseball games, “Down in front!” For photos, “Take off your dark glasses and/or hat.” For those debating about a baby’s resemblance, “He looks like himself.” In early years she would ask for a cup of hot water… “Just wave a tea bag over it.” Then in later years, “I need a cup of coffee.” And, in any store, “I need some place to sit down.” When asked what they were going to do when she retired from teaching shortly before the end of the school year, she said, “That’s not my problem.” And…she always said, “I’m so glad I’m not in charge!” All in all, as long as someone “put[s] some light on the subject,” it’s “perfect.” Mom, you were our light. Online condolences may be shared at american cremationevents.com.

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