Fitzpatrick, Ruth N. Memorial Fund
To provide support to the Kendallville Public Library to purchase materials for the children’s collection.
Donor Fund Story:
Ruth Naomi Fitzpatrick was born on April 20, 1918 in Kendallville, Indiana to Geoffrey L. and Mabel E. (Richard) Browand. Ruth was kind, organized, loyal, modest, inquisitive, and always ready to try new things. She married Larry Brechbill in the early 1940s; however Mr. Brechbill was killed in the invasion of Normandy on August 13, 1944. Ruth was remarried on September 30, 1950 to William “Fitz” Fitzpatrick in a small ceremony in Dayton, Ohio. The couple built their own home on Summitt Street in Kendallville, Indiana where they lived their entire married life. Ruth and Fitz had one daughter, Kelli Burrill, who lives in San Francisco with her family.
In her early years, Ruth was a self-taught hairdresser. After graduating from Kendallville High School, she was an office worker at the Kendallville Coal Yard, which was located on Sargent Street, near the railroad tracks. She also worked for the McCray Refrigeration Company in the accounting department before beginning a job with North Side Elementary where she was the secretary to the principal for nearly 25 years.
Mrs. Fitzpatrick loved to travel and spend time with family. She also liked to read, sew, knit, garden and bake. Books were a big part of a very close relationship Ruth had with her youngest grandson, Joel. When Joel would visit “Bamma”, as he called his grandmother, in Kendallville from San Francisco, she would always check out a dozen or so books from the Kendallville Children’s Library prior to Joel’s arrival. During the visit, more trips to the library were always necessary to get more books as the two of them spent hours and hours reading. Joel developed a passion for the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner and Bamma read as many to him as possible. When in Kendallville, the two of them would pack a picnic and several Boxcar books, drive down to the parking lot on the north side of the railroad track crossing at Main Street and sit in the car for hours, reading, watching trains go by and eating their picnic lunch! When they could not be together, Bamma would buy a new Boxcar book, read it aloud on cassette tape and send both to Joel so she could “read” him the next book in the series! Reading was definitely a serious hobby for both of them and they cherished sharing it together.
Ruth kept a “little black book” in her purse. This little black book was organized alphabetically by last name but unlike most little black books, these names were her favorite authors and below each was a listing of each book she had read by that author and the “score” she had given it. When looking for new books to read, either at the library or at a bookstore, she would refer to her little black book to see if she had read a certain title. If, by chance she did not have her little black book with her, she would read the chosen book, rate it and attempt to record the new entry only to find she had previously read and recorded it and, interestingly, rated it the same the second time as the first! Her opinions were very consistent.
Ruth attended Faith United Methodist Church. She was active with the Beta Sigma Phi service sorority, Bridge Club and East Noble School District Secretaries. Ruth loved living in Indiana and appreciated the merits of Noble County, the Indiana terrain and especially the fall color!
The Ruth N. Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund was established in Ruth’s memory for the purpose of providing financial support to the Kendallville Public Library’s Children’s Section. Ruth loved to read and loved to see children reading. An annual distribution from this fund helps support the purchase of children’s materials at the library and add to the collection already at the library.
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