Ruth Stimson        
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picture Butterfly in remembrance of Ruth Stimson by Stratham, NH artist Lois Gerrish
Ruth was 84 years old when she died in July 2004. Tuck Museum Director Betty Moore remembers saying goodbye.

"Ruth was one-of-a-kind - logical, practical and Yankee frugal. Her motto was ‘Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.' Ruth was a long-time friend and mentor, and I was devastated when I learned Ruth had passed away. I wanted to pay my respects by attending her memorial service in Amherst, NH, where the rest of her family was buried. Like Ruth, her service was no frills - just utilitarian and simple.

"The day was perfect! A gentle breeze was blowing the grasses and the meadow flowers. I remember the warmth of the sun on my face and listening to the birds singing in the distance. There was this sense of peace and tranquility. This is as Ruth would have ordered, I thought to myself.

"Eight of us were in attendance. Some of us were sitting and a few were standing in a line on one side of the casket, with the minister on the other side facing us. As the minister began speaking, a small white butterfly appeared - the kind you might not normally notice. Ignoring the wildflowers that were in abundance and the flowers on the casket, it flew from person to person, stopping and fluttering around each of us in a prolonged and deliberate effort.

"Mesmerized, I watched as the butterfly made its way from one to the next, then glided to the casket, hovering over the top and twice going underneath as if checking it out. The butterfly flew to the minister, then back to us, once again moving along the line. "I did not hear a thing the minister said - his words became the background, as I was wrapped in the cocoon of this perfect day watching this small butterfly attend Ruth's service with us.

"With the minister's closing words, the little butterfly soared out of sight.

"Goodbye, Ruth, I thought."