Obituary: Ruth Henry, 1923-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Ruth Henry, 1923-2021 

Georgia-born woman joined the Civil Air Patrol in World War II

click to enlarge Ruth Henry - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Ruth Henry

Ruth Ione Parkman Henry passed away peacefully on March 21, 2021, in the care of her loving family. She was born on October 16, 1923, in Buena Vista, Ga., the daughter of Douglas Cleveland Parkman and Beatrice McAllister Parkman.

Ruth grew up in Columbus, Ga. She was an active and fun-loving young woman who played basketball and tennis and was voted most athletic girl in her high school class. She loved dancing and big band music and was a prize-winning jitterbugger. She danced in an Atlanta Opera Company production of Marilyn My Marilyn.

During World War II, Ruth took an interest in flying, had flight lessons and joined the Civil Air Patrol. She went to work for Bell Aircraft in Marietta, Ga., and later she became an aircraft communicator at the Atlanta Airport. There she met Edwin “Cub” Henry, a captain in the Army Air Corps, and they were married in April 1946.

Ruth and Cub built four houses in their first seven years of marriage, including two on Lake George, where they raised their family. Ruth led Girl Scout troops, learned to sail, taught tennis lessons, did volunteer work in the community, and welcomed children of family and friends for summers at the lake, including hosting her “Austrian daughter,” AFS student Margarete Weitzendorf, for an American year.

Ruth most enjoyed all of the celebratory holiday and birthday meals with family and friends around her dining room table throughout the years. Halloween especially captured her imagination, and she made the most fabulous costumes, including a Santa suit, clown costumes and even a hot dog costume for her little Jack Russell Terrier. She loved all kinds of dance, from ballet to Fosse; going to tennis tournaments and dressage events; and playing bridge and puzzles. She was an avid reader and especially loved the novels of P.D. James. She treasured the many lasting friendships she made wherever she lived and traveled.

When they retired in 1980, Ruth and Cub hit the road for more than six years of traveling through every state in the nation and every province in Canada. They then settled in at Redrocks in Burlington, Vt., to be near their children, and Ruth continued to be active in the community. She made close friendships with neighbors and several women at Twin Oaks water aerobics classes. After Cub passed away in 1994, Ruth lived on her own until 2018 , when at age 94 she moved into the loving retirement community at Quarry Hill in South Burlington, before moving home with her family during the 2020 pandemic.

Ruth was predeceased by her beloved Cub; her parents; three brothers, George “Mac” Parkman, Jack Rainey Parkman and Thomas Sidney Parkman; and William Talmage Parkman, who died in infancy. She is survived by her son Thomas Charles Henry and his wife, Jean Martell Henry; her daughter Dixie Henry and son-in-law William O’Neill; her daughter Susan Parkman Henry and son-in-law Sture Nelson; her granddaughter Amy Jean Henry and her husband, Michael Vincent, and their two children, Benjamin Henry Vincent and Maya Henry Vincent; and her granddaughter Lisa Marie Henry and son-in-law Christopher Gribnau, and their daughter Annabel Marie Gribnau. She is also survived by her beloved nephew Jack Rainey Parkman Jr. and his wife, Jeanne Parkman; her beloved niece Paula Caldwell and her husband, Broughton Caldwell; and many other cherished nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Ruth’s life will be planned for later in the spring, when it is safe for family and friends to gather in her honor.

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