Ruth Straitiff Ham

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Ruth Straitiff Ham, 81
SHAPLEIGH -- Ruth S. Ham, 81, known by one and all as 'Town Mother' for the residents of Shapleigh, died on Feb. 5, 2013, at So. Maine Medical Center in Biddeford.
Ruth was born on Dec. 14, 1931, in Pepperell, Mass., the daughter of William A. and Doris A. (Blood) Straitiff Sr., attended local schools and graduated from Pepperell High School.
Before she met and married her husband Warren Ham, she wanted to become a nun to serve the poor. It was a high mark to reach as Ruth has been a long time Baptist! Soon she was smitten with Warren and they married on Oct. 14, 1950 and made their home in Maryland. They were blessed with five children and Ruth was fortunate to become a stay at home mom. She encouraged her children to learn the virtues of being honest, hard work never hurt anyone, and it was better to give than receive.
They moved to the Ham Farm in 1973, which has been home for generations of the Ham family. It was a change from the suburban life of Maryland, but Ruth didn't hesitate with the challenges that living in the country would entail. Soon Ruth began attending the First Baptist Church and she served at the church treasure for over 30 years. She also taught Sunday school and was a Girl Scout leader. Ruth was instrumental in starting the food pantry in the area and served over 40 years within town government in a variety of positions.
Ruth served as a Selectman for 33 years and was getting ready to run again. She served on the Planning Board, was Chairman on several of the boards, and was a certified state assessor with the Maine Municipal Association. She was a member of Acton/ Shapleigh Lions Club and president of the cemetery association. For many years, Ruth wrote a weekly column for the Sanford News.
When you met Ruth, she was available to listen to your concerns and was always fair; and doing things the right way the first time around. She was honest, wanted the best for the town and could be seen at all hours of the day or night working or volunteering for the town she came to love. She was instrumental in moving the town forward and was so pleased when the town dedicated the recreation fields in her name.
Ruth enjoyed traveling with the friends she had made through MMA to the Grand Canyon. She even talked about wanting to jump from an airplane! She loved new adventures, history, attending any of the local school programs, or sitting at the Town Common where family and friends could gather in the beauty of the village. Her legacy will be one of serving her fellow citizens with truth, respect and good ole Yankee values.
Ruth is survived by four children, Jean Lynch and husband Jim of Maryland, Karen Ham of So. Portland, Patricia May of Kennebunk, and Kevin Ham and wife Debra of Alfred; one grandson, Ryan Mayo of Kennebunk; and her siblings, W. Arthur of Ohio, Ralph of Pepperell, Mass., Florence of Leesville, La., Sara of Jacksonville, Fla., Ida of Riverside, Calif., Alfred of Jaffrey, N.H., and Doris of Stanton, Calif. She was predeceased by her husband, Warren Ham in 2003; by a son, Edward Ham in 1980; and by three brothers, John, Paul and Charles.
A funeral service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at the Alfred Parish Church, 12 Kennebunk Rd., in Alfred at 4:30 p.m., followed by a reception next door in the Hobbs Room. The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bosse will officiate. Friends may visit with the family from 2 p.m. until the hour of service at the church. To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit www.autumngreenfuneralhome.com. The Autumn Green Funeral Home is respectfully handling arrangements.
Ruth loved the town of Shapleigh and in her memory, please
consider a donation to:
The Parks & Recreation Department
P.O. Box 26
Shapleigh, Maine 04076
The Shapleigh Fire Department
P.O. Box 15
Shapleigh, Maine 04076
or to The Shapleigh
Rescue Department
P.O. Box 51
Shapleigh, Maine 04076

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Funeral Home
Autumn Green Funeral Home
47 Oak Street Alfred, ME 04002
(207) 459-7110
Funeral Home Details
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 7, 2013
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