Ruth Barbara Thomas, obituary

Tue, 09/26/2023 - 2:00pm

CAMDEN — Ruth Barbara Thomas, 95, died on 23 September at the Sussman House in Rockport, Maine. She was born October 30, 1927 in Pittsfield, Maine, the daughter of the late Francois “Frank” and Lida (Howes) Shaw.

After marrying Robert Thomas in 1950, Ruth supported his career as a Maine Game Warden while raising a family of five children in Lee, Lincoln, and Manchester. Running the household during a long stay in Lincoln included growing and canning vegetables; caring for chickens, horses, a pony, and a milking cow; and doing all the other things that Maine families did to make ends meet.

Ruth was a life-long learner. After her children grew older and became more independent, she started working full-time, first at the District Court in Lincoln and later for the Maine Department of Corrections in Augusta. While working, she attended part-time the University of Maine, and after many years, she graduated with distinction with a BS in Business Administration from the University of Maine at Augusta. Ruth retired in 1989 after working her last 12 years as the business manager for the Maine State Prison.

Ruth was also an artist, and her hooked rugs, oil paintings, watercolors, and linocut prints adorn the homes of her family. After her retirement, and after becoming a widow for the second time, Ruth enrolled at the University of Southern Maine. She left her home in Port Clyde during the school year, rented an apartment in Gorham, and after two years, she graduated at the age of 76 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 2004. She graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

During her later years at Quarry Hill, she compiled photo memory books for her children. The memory books contained family photos of horse shows, golden retrievers, the camp at Cold Stream Pond, picnics at lakes and ponds in northern Penobscot County, and lobster dinners at Port Clyde. She was also the family genealogist, and with the help of the Maine Mayflower historians, her last achievement was becoming a member of The Mayflower Society in late August 2023.

She was predeceased by first husband, Richard Warren Freeman in 1949; by second husband, Robert Severance Thomas in 1996; and by granddaughter Jessica Marie Thomas in 2003.

She is survived by son Stephen Freeman (Jayne); daughter Virginia Foss (John); son Robert Thomas (Jo); son Martyn Thomas (Luba); son Christopher Thomas (Marliss); grandchildren Shawn Thomas, Michael Thomas, Thomas Freeman, John Freeman; and brother John Shaw.

Ruth suffered from congestive heart failure, and her family greatly appreciates the personalized care provided by Nurse Judi and the Camden Area District Nursing Association during the last years of her life.

Following her wishes, a private family graveside service will be held at the Ridge Cemetery in St. George.

In lieu of flowers, Ruth has requested that a donation be made to the Pope Memorial Humane Society, 25 Buttermilk Lane, Thomaston, 04861.

Halls of Thomaston has care of the arrangements. To offer online condolences, visit Ruth’s Book of Memories at