WILMINGTON, MA — Ruth I. Filipowicz, age 98, a long-time Wilmington resident, passed away peacefully on July 4, 2020, at Fullerton Gardens Alzheimer’s Residential Care in Fullerton, California.
Ruth was born in Pleasant Hills, Nova Scotia, the daughter of Hedrick and Edith Dickson. The family moved to Chelsea a few years later. Although Ruth was one of three valedictorians of the Chelsea High School Class of 1939 and wanted to become a home economics teacher, the family didn’t have the means to send her to college, so she went to work in the front office of the Chelsea Clock Company. During World War II, Ruth was a member of the USO, going to dances to help entertain servicemen. She met her life-partner, Joseph (Joe) Filipowicz, at a dance in Revere, and they were married in 1948. Their daughter, Catherine, was born in 1950.
Joe and Ruth bought land in Wilmington and built their own house, moving in early 1955. Ruth became a full-time homemaker. The couple worked companionably side by side on many projects over the decades. After nearly 66 years of marriage, Joe passed away in August 2014. Two years later, Ruth moved to California to be near her daughter.
Ruth enjoyed working with children. She served as an elementary school tutor and library volunteer. For many years, she was a Girl Scout leader and day camp counselor, with a favorite troop trip being a hike up Mount Monadnock. Ruth organized the town Scout and Camp Fire groups to carry the books from the little old Wilmington Library down the street to the new library building when it opened.
A lover of the outdoors, Ruth embarked on many camping trips, moving up from a tent to a pop-up tent trailer to travel trailers. Eventually, she and Joe spent many happy summers at Lake Champagne Campground in Randolph Center, Vermont. Ruth enjoyed fishing, canoeing, walking in the woods, knowing where the blackberry bushes were hidden, and hand-feeding the chipmunks … besides chatting with good friends. Ruth and Joe grew terrific vegetable gardens in both Wilmington and Vermont, and each year Ruth planted a long bed of flowers in front of their trailer.
Ruth loved to read and shared her daughter’s interest in history. Together, they walked the Boston Freedom Trail and made an historical road trip through Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. Ruth sewed a number of colonial-era dresses, was a guide for the first open houses when the town of Wilmington acquired Harnden Tavern, and helped organize town American Bicentennial activities in 1975, including the Colonial Living Arts Festival.
Joe and Ruth were active in the Wilmington Senior Center from its beginning. Ruth was a line dancer, a regular participant in exercise class, and a planner of special events. She and Joe made many painted decorative wooden items and toys to sell at the annual fall fair.
Ruth will be remembered as intelligent, friendly, strong, and hard-working. She was a devoted daughter and truly a member of Joe’s family. While fostering a peaceful home life, she also spoke her mind; right up to her passing, she was known for her “feisty-ness.” Intellectual curiosity was perhaps Ruth’s most basic characteristic; she loved maps, encyclopedias, nature identification books (birds, trees, flowers), mystery stories, radio talk shows, and looking at big machines and seeing how they work.
Ruth was the beloved wife of the late Joseph C. Filipowicz and devoted mother of Catherine Steinhoff and her husband Nicholas of La Mirada, California. She was the sister of Dorothy Smith, formerly of Stoneham, and the late Havelock and Lloyd Dickson. Ruth is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will gather for Visitation at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, MA, on Wednesday, July 15th, from 10:00 – 11:00, followed by a brief service at the funeral home and burial in Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. All guests are required to wear a mask.
Donations in Ruth’s name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.