Our Class V-P has passed on ...
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014 09:33 AM

Ruth Perry Bates

MATTAPOISETT — Ruth (Perry) Bates, wife, mother, teacher and lifelong student, completed her life’s journey on Wednesday, November 12 at home, surrounded by family and held in the Light by all who loved her. She was the loving wife and soulmate of Richard R. Bates for 44 years.

Born in New Bedford, the first day of spring, March 21, 1947, and prophetically given the name Ruth (compassionate one), she was the daughter of the late Alyce (Fraga) and Anthony Perry. She was a graduate and class officer of New Bedford High School, class of 1965, earned her BA in English from Westfield State College in 1969 and completed graduate work at Southern Illinois University the following year.

Ruth served as a beloved short and long-term substitute teacher who cared deeply for her students at both Mattapoisett Center and Old Hammondtown schools. Students there knew they were not about to experience just another ordinary day when she'd walk into their classroom often wearing her signature red high top Converse All Star sneakers. Ruth also dedicated ten energy filled years as Language Arts teacher at Friends Academy before retiring in 1994. Inside and outside the classroom, Ruth devoted numerous hours developing learning tools uniquely geared to challenge each student's aptitude and ability. While at Center School, she helped organize a "Santa's Workshop" as an after school activity providing students with the opportunity to tap into their own creativity to design and make holiday gifts for parents and siblings. The Workshops subsequently became an annual event.

Always a lover of the written word, Ruth hosted Writers' Workshops in her home for both experienced and aspiring writers for several years. She welcomed all writers and styles. Many participants in these workshops are today published novelists and/or journalists. Knowing children also have much to express, she encouraged her students to let loose their imaginations in journals and stories. In addition, she organized and led a workshop for ORR students for a time.

Ruth was an accomplished gardener, writer, cook, painter, sculptor, carver and sailor. If she loved something, she wanted to try it. And there wasn’t much she could not learn to do. Her much anticipated snow sculptures graced Ned’s Point, The New Bedford Whaling Museum (Great White Whale), or were often serendipitously created on neighbors' lawns (usually with assistance from several youthful volunteer apprentices …

Ruth was excited by and custodian of the natural world. A fearless hiker and explorer, she got outside every chance she could and encouraged her friends and family to accompany her. She could often be found blazing new trails, cycling, swimming, kayaking and identifying birds. She served as volunteer Bay Watcher for The Coalition For Buzzards Bay for several years   ….  Ruth also loved Mattapoisett and its history. While serving as Trustee of the Mattapoisett Historical Society, she spent several weeks designing and herb and flower gardens on the museum grounds. She also helped organize historical tours for the town's 150th birthday celebration and ensured recognition of the Native American presence and importance in the town’s history.

 “Take joy in each breath - each and every moment you still have life. Get outside and notice all that is Good and Beautiful in the world - sunsets, the moon and stars, animals, flowers, birds, bees, trees, wind, rain, snow, and most of all, the people who put up with you. Cherish them, tell them how much you love them and hold them close.”

Ruth was mother of the late Forest R. Bates. In addition to her husband, she is also survived by a daughter Rachel Bates and her companion, Dylan Berner of Pawtucket, RI, her mother-in-law, Florence Bates of Mattapoisett, sisters Marie Perry, of New Bedford, Elizabeth Lestage and husband Paul of New Bedford, Angela Hague and husband Ronald of Creede, CO, Karen Perry Rose and husband Barry of New Bedford, brothers Larry and wife Debbie of Stratford, Ct., Tony and wife Susan of West Boylston, MA, Robert and wife Johanna of Dennis, MA, Martin and wife Jennifer, of Brewster, MA. and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to one of the following organizations dearly loved by Ruth: Mattapoisett Friends Meeting (Quakers) PO Box 795, Mattapoisett, MA 02739, The Mattapoisett Land Trust, PO Box 31, Mattapoisett, MA 02739, or The Mattapoisett Historical Society, PO Box 535, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.