In Memory of



Obituary for Ruth Graham

ROCKPORT…………………Ruth Graham, 95 years young, “tickled the ivories” for the last time on February 5th 2024. Then, she took her final bow on February 6, 2024. A prolific and cultured artist and musician, world traveler, and mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Ruth wasn’t completely finished, because she was never done. Her spirit and her drive were stronger than the physical world, and although her body couldn’t keep pace with her spirit, she was happy because, at 95, she was still breaking new ground with her music.
Brooklyn, New York was the landing spot for Mary and Louis Winer’s only child on January 23, 1929. Ruth’s parents were a bit unconventional in several ways, and they split up early. “Unconventional” shaped Ruth in that post-Depression era and she learned how to fight for herself and decide her own future. This dominated her very essence until she met Wally Grubman at James Madison High School in Brooklyn. Their meeting became a classic case of when an Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object. That was Ruth and Wally until the spirit of detente intervened and they joined forces in marriage after college in 1950.
They were together unstoppable. And Unconventional. Wally began his career as an engineer and rose to the top. His career took them far and wide and culminated in England. Ruth began her career as a teacher, writer and musician, then Mother, then newspaper reporter, then editor of an Environmental education textbook, then writer of musicals. Under the pen name Ruth Graham, her work was performed to audience acclaim in Oxford and Wimbledon, England, as well as at the world-renowned Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. When Wally retired, they proceeded with her work and their lives under her name Graham. Together. Unconventional. Unstoppable.
Ruth and Wally raised three sons. She is survived by two of them: Steven Graham and his wife Jean of East Longmeadow, MA and Eric Grubman and his wife Betsy Compton of Long Valley, NJ. She had five grandchildren and three great-granddaughters, each of which she held in her arms.
When Wally passed in 2012, Steven and Eric discussed next steps with Ruth. They pointed out her age, failing eyesight and recent heart trouble as reasons for her to move closer to one of them. Ruth pointed out the delights of Rockport, Maine. And That Was That! Unconventional. Unstoppable.
Ruth became part of the Rockport community. She loved the harbor, her neighbors, the fishing and lobster boats, the library, the Land Trust and especially her friends. To be Ruth’s friend was to know and experience her wisdom, her loyalty and her resolve. When in need, a friend of Ruth’s could draw on that well of strength.
Ruth’s accomplishments are many, but the best illustrations are the simple things. She learned how to play golf and became a single digit handicap in five years. Asked how that happened, she said: “keep the ball in the fairway and then sink your putts.” She built a substantial stone wall in New Jersey by herself; explaining to those who asked how such a thing could be done she responded: “Stone by stone, one at a time.” She and Wally played piano and drums respectively in a jazz band in New Jersey. Her music was played and enjoyed on multiple continents. Yet she remained part of her local communities wherever she went, just like she did in Rockport. Nothing fancy. Understated. Unstoppable.
She had endless energy. Among other things, she loved travel, England where she and Wally lived for 25 years, golf, gardening, her dogs, especially Charlie, her indomitable companion on Mechanic Street. Her Rockport neighbors witnessed her green thumb at work from the sweeping geranium display down to the waterfront to the unusual five-foot golden Cosmos grown from seed.
Yet the body is mortal, and the curtain comes down. As Ruth’s spirit lives on, so does that energy. The Unstoppable Force will be with her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She will be missed and remembered.
To acknowledge her life and her spirit, please consider planting something in her memory.
Private arrangements are being made for internment next to Wally and their son James in Mendham, NJ.
A celebration and memory of her life will be held for friends and neighbors at her home in Rockport at #11 Mechanic Street on Wednesday, February 21 from 3-6pm.
Condolences may be shared at Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.