Ruth Clarke Ryan Dittemore, 88, of Atlanta, Mo., passed away Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, at the Samaritan Hospital in Macon, Mo., after an illness.
Ruth was born July 19, 1933, in Camden, N.J., the daughter of William and Rhoda (Rombough) Ryan. She grew up in Millsboro and was a graduate of Millsboro High School, speaking as valedictorian for the Class of 1951.
Ruth met the love of her life, Jim Dittemore, in 1952 at a USO dance in Newport News, Va. Jim was a career airman, and she spent the next 20 years living the adventurous life of an Air Force wife, living in many foreign countries. When Jim retired in 1972, they settled on a farmette in Atlanta, Mo. Never ones to stay idle, Ruth and her husband were very active in the Atlanta community. Ruth was on the board of Christian Ministry and helped with the food bank in LaPlata. She was also on the board of Atlanta Rural Rental Housing.
Ruth was an accomplished pianist and organist and for many years was the organist at the Atlanta United Methodist Church, where she and Jim were members. She was also a member of the Atlanta United Methodist Women. When not serving in the community or supporting her husband in his political career – he served three terms as mayor of Atlanta – she could be found in a good book. A voracious reader, she could rip through a novel in jig time. And, we might add, she had a keen wit and a great sense of humor.
Husband Jim passed away in 2009. Ruth remained on the farmette for the rest of her days. Ruth is survived by her daughter, Laura Dittemore Bergman and her wife Virginia Shestko; siblings, Grace Ryan Brittingham, Millsboro, and Timothy Ryan, Ephrata, Pa.; grandchildren, Daniel Bergman and wife Mindy, Smithville, Mo.; Timothy Bergman, Columbia, Mo.; Samuel Bergman and wife Sawyer, Kansas City, Mo.; and great-grandchildren, Harper, Colton, Laken, Ember, Seeley and Oriana Bergman.
In addition to her husband, Ruth was preceded in death by her son, Terry Dittemore, and her sister, Connie Ryan Gross.
A memorial service was held Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Atlanta Methodist Church, with Sister Susan McCarty officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, aspca.org. Arrangements were under the direction of Hutton & McElwain Funeral Home in Macon, Mo.
The family wishes to express our greatest appreciation to Virginia Shestko for her compassion and sacrificial care for Ruth during her illness. You are a true hero.