Obituary of Ruth A. Brown
Previously of Columbus, NJ; Princeton Junction, NJ; and Oak Lawn, IL, Ruth A. Brown died on November 17, 2023 in Chatham Township, NJ. Ruth was born to Louis Rust and Edith Wisthuff Rust on December 2, 1931, in Sibley, IL, and grew up on her family’s farm. Ruth earned her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from the University of Illinois in 1954, andworked for Armour and Company as a home economist for six years thereafter. In the midst of this time, she met her husband, John “Jack” Brown, and the two were married on May 23, 1959. While Ruth sometimes worked over the course of the next seventeen years, the next phase of her life was largely spent caring for her children. She would later return to school, though, receiving her Master of Sciences in Dietetics from Rutgers in 1977, and she quickly found a job as a dietitian for the New Jersey Department of Health, a position she held for 18 years before retirement.
Ruth was a strong proponent of education all her life, andmade sure to convey the importance of education to others. She encouraged her children in their studies, and always confirmed that they were doing everything in their power to ensure their academic success, whether that meant getting to class on time, studying for exams, or simply completing their homework. This dedication to others’ education did not extend only to her own children; she also taught children how to cook at 4-H, and even spent a year as a sixth-grade teacher.
Ruth’s love and compassion were perhaps most clearly expressed through food. Growing up on a farm during the Great Depression, she learned firsthand that providing others with food is one of the kindest things one can do as a human. This gesture is especially appreciated when the cook is as skilled as Ruth was. She was responsible for testing recipes for inclusion in cookbooks during her time at Armour and Company. She also gave people advice, around Thanksgiving, on how to prepare food for the holiday as part of Armour’s “Turkey Talk” phone line. During her later work as a dietitian, Ruth further demonstrated her belief that everyone should be provided with good food to eat by inspecting state facilities to confirm that the food distributed was sanitary and healthy. Even (or perhaps especially) in retirement, Ruth was often the recipient of questions from friends and family regarding how to cook well, which she was always happy to answer.
Ruth was a compassionate mother, grandmother, and human, and will be missed by all who knew her. Ruth is predeceased by her husband, Jack; her parents, Louis and Edith (Wisthuff) Rust; her brother, Mervyn Rust; and her sister, Loretta Nordstrom. She is survived by her children, Michael Brown, Kathleen Kelley, and Christopher Brown (Mia Romano-Brown); and her six grandchildren: Colleen Kelley, Erin Kelley, Brianna Brown, William Brown, Aleena Brown, and Andrew Brown.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend the visitation held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 25, 2023 at the Madison Memorial Home, 159 Main Street, Madison, NJ. This will be followed by a 3:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial held at St. Vincent Martyr Church, 26 Green Village Road, Madison, NJ. Those who wish may attend the mass virtually by visiting www.svmnj.org
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ruth’s memory may be made to the Special Olympics New Jersey c/o Special Olympics New Jersey 1 Eunice Kennedy Shriver Way Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.
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