Ruth W. Parker

Nov 01, 2018
Ruth Parker

Camden — Ruth Weyburn Parker, 98, died Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at the Quarry Hill Gardens, with family by her side. “Woofie,” as she was known to her many, many friends, had a favorite saying: “I’m so lucky.” She was indeed fortunate to have had so many loving family members and friends in her rich life, but those who knew her and loved her were the truly lucky ones.

Woofie was born in Boston March 2, 1920, to Lyon and Ruth Anthony Weyburn of Prides Crossing, Mass. She attended the Master’s School, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. At 20, she married Henry S. (Harry) Parker Jr. of Hewlett, N.Y. They shared 55 years of love, fun, high adventure and daunting challenges. In October 1941 the virtual newlyweds set sail for Honolulu, where Harry took command of a PT boat based in Pearl Harbor.

For six weeks the young couple enjoyed sparkling beaches, balmy tropical nights and the carefree, party-like atmosphere of pre-war Hawaii. That all changed early Sunday morning, Dec. 7. While Harry fought at Midway and other distant locales in the weeks and months following, Woofie remained in Hawaii, armed with the only “weapon” available — a toy pistol. She rolled bandages for wounded sailors and soldiers and served in the Army’s Office of Censorship and the Women’s Air Raid Defense, working grueling, back-to-back seven-hour shifts.

After the war, Woofie and Harry fetched up in South Freeport, where they cofounded the South Freeport Yacht Basin, helped to organize the Harraseeket Yacht Club, started a junior sailing program, became accomplished sailboat racers, skied most of the slopes of northern New England, and launched four seaworthy children. Woofie was a crew member on the Harraseeket Yacht Club women’s Adams Cup sailing team that made it to the national championships in 1957. She also taught local kids how to ski on the steep, tree-covered slopes of their South Freeport backyard, led a Campfire Girls group, and was a dedicated Sunday school teacher. Seemingly forsaking sleep, Woofie studied for her real estate license, became a successful, highly regarded realtor, and established her own real estate firm.

Woofie and Harry moved to Jameson Point, Rockland, in 1989. As Harry’s health declined, they spent more and more time in Stuart, Fla., where Woofie was a volunteer at the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club and honed her tennis skills. When Harry died in 1995, Woofie sold the Florida place to be full-time at her beloved Maine coast and to focus on her passion of fostering sailing, seamanship and sportsmanship skills in young people. She cofounded the Community Sailing Program at Atlantic Challenge in Rockland and joined the organization’s board of directors.

She was a member of the Camden Yacht Club and was on the club’s membership committee. An active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland, she served on the parish’s vestry. She was a member of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. She skied until her late 80s, including in the Alps. She particularly loved the Camden Snow Bowl. She traveled extensively, even into her 90s, with destinations that included Europe, South America, Alaska and Greenland.

Woofie is survived by her children, Henry S. III (Hank), Anthony W. (Tony), Ruth Ann Lonbay (Ann), and Lyon S. (Steve); and by her nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be scheduled and announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parker Wheelock Endowment Fund at Atlantic Challenge, 643 Main St., Rockland, ME 04841.

Arrangements are with Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland. To share a memory or story with the Parker family, visit their Book of Memories at bchfh.com.

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