Obituary: Ruth Skiff, 1931-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Ruth Skiff, 1931-2022 

Longtime licensed mental health counselor leaves example of a life lived with purpose and meaning

Published July 15, 2022 at 6:15 a.m. | Updated July 15, 2022 at 2:54 p.m.

click to enlarge Ruth Skiff - COURTESY
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  • Ruth Skiff
Having lived a rich and rewarding life, Ruth Skiff, 90, passed away on July 3, 2022, on the family homestead that she and her husband, Bill, created on Butternut Road in Williston, while overlooking her beloved wildflowers and in the constant, loving presence of her husband, four children, cherished in-laws and six grandchildren.

The daughter of first-generation Spanish immigrants through Ellis Island and a native Spanish speaker, Ruth learned to speak English without any formalized instruction while attending school in Massachusetts.

Gifted with a keen intellect, strong work ethic and intense love of lifelong learning, Ruth earned her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in her forties, while simultaneously working full time, raising four children and managing near-constant home renovations at the family farm. Never one to rest, Ruth then earned a master’s degree in psychology from Johnson College, driving the distance to Johnson for classes and returning home to Williston late at night, yet somehow fitting in enough studying to earn top-notch grades, contributing to her community and keeping the family plates spinning.

Among her most fulfilling life experiences was her 18-year career as a licensed mental health counselor. Her work with Washington County Mental Health supported clients living in the community and included group work with felony domestic violence offenders and individuals convicted of driving under the influence, as well as work with countless additional Vermont agencies that needed her level of compassion and expertise over the years.

Ruth often expressed appreciation for her coworkers at WCMH and for the enriching personal and professional growth this career provided her. She served as an example for colleagues, family and friends of the importance of finding both joy and purpose in what you do for a living.

People often sought Ruth’s kind and thoughtful counsel. When asked how best to respond to the many recent challenges in the world, her counsel to “Take care of yourself; take care of your family; and take care of your community” resonated as both an antidote and a solution.

Ruth gifted us with a legacy of unconditional love and the example of a life lived with purpose and meaning that enriched the lives of those in her community and home. We are grateful for the many experiences and great memories we shared with her. Ruth’s legacy will live on in every deliberate act of kindness extended. She taught us well.

The family plans a small celebration of Ruth’s life to take place on Butternut Road for close family and friends in the near future.

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." — Willa Cather
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