Obituary for Ruth Chambers Rennie (Jones)
Ruth Chambers Rennie, born September 18, 1918 as Ruth Esther Jones, completed her mortal journey on Easter Monday April 17, 2017. Her 98 years were filled with service to others, care for her family, and life-long love of learning. All are welcome to a celebration of her life on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM at Townley & Wheeler Funeral Home, 21 Midline Road, Ballston Lake, NY. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wesley Foundation, 131 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or to the Community Hospice of Saratoga.
With Marvin Sims Chambers (d. 1979) she parented four children – Grant (d. 2006), James, Eve, and John. Her quiet determination helped assure first generation college degrees for all four, who in turn added seven grandchildren (Jesse, Melissa, John Scott, Thomas and Jennifer Chambers and Andrea and the late Rebecca Sanchez), their further academic accomplishments, and six great grandchildren (Theodore and Henry Chambers, Violet Murphy, Olivia and Duncan DeFonce and Christopher Chambers) to her progeny, among whom her various traits, including artistry and service, frequently reappear. With Henry Rennie (d. 1987) she enjoyed a second marriage of notable, if fleeting, joy.
Her childhood years on the shore of Ballston Lake – with countless hours spent swimming – nurtured her lifelong love of lapping waters, which she passed on to her progeny. Her early education at Goose Hill School kindled a love of words and learning likewise inherited by all descendants, and kept her working through crossword puzzles and books by Winston Churchill even in her waning days. Among her nine siblings, her younger sister, Nadine, who credits Ruth with teaching her to swim, survives her. Treasured cousins, in-laws and outlaws (none more treasured than her surrogate daughter Joanne) extended her delight in studying and celebrating the family tree.
Along her path were innumerable good deeds inspired in part by her devout Christianity – Fresh Air children, Navy servicemen at Thanksgiving tables, expectant mothers in need of refuge. Alongside jobs ranging from commercial art to the Visiting Nurse Association, her main employment was in caring for her family and others. Her baking attained household fame; the aromas of her signature breads were known to inspire uphill races to be first at spreading the butter and homemade jam.
Her most tangible legacies may be her watercolors, brought forth in the latter decades of her life as paintings and personal notecards, scattered to loved ones and strangers alike, now treasured as gifts beyond price. Also memorable were a love of poetry, earnest if less soaring forays at the piano keyboard, and a tendency to play again and again the recordings of Broadway musicals, consequently etched in the memories of her children. Completely intangible were her occasional gifts of foresight, as demonstrated when she sensed the illness of a family member 5,000 miles away, or when in 2003 she proclaimed the newly acquired but virtually unknown David Ortiz as her favorite player on her beloved Red Sox.
Perhaps thinking that the example of her own service was not quite enough, Ruth used her artistic skills to adorn a kitchen door in the Chambers family home with words that are a fitting reminder and epitaph:
Most of us creep into life
Not knowing why we are here
Save to consume the fowl, the flesh, the fish
And leave behind an empty dish.
What are YOU here for?