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FORT FAIRFIELD and NASHUA, N.H. – Dr. Ruth B. Anderson, 84, a magnanimous spirit, passed away Wednesday morning, May 4, 2011, in Nashua, N.H. She was born Jan. 14, 1927, in Metuchen, N.J., daughter of Jessie R. and Marion (Kellow) Brunstetter.

She started breaking new ground for women early in her life. At a time when proper women were expected to stay home, she embarked on a non-traditional career path. Ruth graduated from Metuchen High School and maintained friendships with her high school classmates throughout her life. While attending Trenton State Teachers College she was the first woman in the state to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts. After several successful years as an industrial arts and elementary level teacher in Hicksville, N.Y., she set sites on a graduate education, earning a master’s degree from SUNY and eventually a doctorate from Syracuse University. She began teaching at the college level at Elmira College in New York while working on her doctorate. In 1972, Dr. Anderson accepted the appointment as chair of the Division of Education at University of Maine at Presque Isle and was later recognized as a professor emeritus of education. For 26 years she was a dedicated and influential professor and administrator. Ruth was a widely known authority in the area of gifted and talented education. She was a popular speaker at professional meetings and conferences both in Maine and around the country. Her leadership and instruction have been instrumental in the development of gifted and talented education throughout Aroostook County schools. Despite the responsibilities of raising a family and the demands of her career, Ruth always found time to serve on numerous boards and commissions. She and her late husband, John, devoted much time and energy to building and historical preservation of Fort Fairfield Blockhouse. She was an active member of United Parish Church, Fort Fairfield. Of all her noteworthy accomplishments, teaching was the closest to Ruth’s heart. Her gentle hand has touched the lives of thousands of aspiring teachers during nearly three decades. She is respected and loved by those she has mentored throughout the years. At Christmas time her mailbox was filled with cards and letters from young people who remember her kindness and wisdom. She retired from the University in 1998 and maintained a very active life, enjoying numerous hobbies and interests, entertaining her many friends and colleagues, and sharing her at home museum collection of antique dolls and toys. Her enthusiasm for living and her magnanimous spirit are an inspiration to all who know her. Ruth was the widow of John C. Anderson Jr., who was born in Lima, Ohio, and lived in Fort Fairfield, from 1972 to 1995.

She was predeceased by her sister, Ethel; and brothers, Phillip, Donald and William Brunstetter. She is survived by sister, Edith Benning of Monroe Township, N.J.; sons, John C. Anderson III of Chelmsford, Mass., and Thomas C. Anderson Sr.; daughter-in-law, Karen Anderson; grandsons, John William Anderson and Thomas Charles Anderson Jr., all of Westford, Mass.; numerous nieces and nephews.

Friends may call 7-9 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Giberson-Dorsey Funeral Home, 144 Main St., Fort Fairfield, where a funeral service will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, with the Rev. Mark Babin officiating. Interment will take place after the service at Riverside Cemetery, Fort Fairfield. A time of continued fellowship with refreshments will be held immediately after the interment at VFW Paul Lockhart Post No. 6187, Presque Isle Street, Fort Fairfield. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that individuals make donations to John and Ruth Anderson Scholarship Fund, UMPI, 181 Main St., Presque Isle, ME 04769.

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