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Ruth A. Smith

April 11, 1928 – May 8, 2023

Wife of Rev. Russell L. Smith, Ruth Alice Buskirk Smith, age 95, died Monday, May 8, 2023 at Chelsea Retirement Community.

She was born on April 11, 1928 on the family farm in Vestaberg, Michigan, the daughter of Royal and Sarah Martin Buskirk. There were seven children. Neil (Ethel) Buskirk, Naomi (John) Eby, Luke and Esther are older than Ruth.  Joanna (Wayne) Babcock and Philip (Eleanor) are younger.

Ruth went to a one-room school for the first eight years, and she graduated in 1946 from Pellston High School. The first year in high school she walked three miles both ways to Pellston. The second year, she was happy to ride their bus. After high school, she worked for one year and then went on to Saginaw General Hospital and graduated in 1950 as a Registered Nurse.

Ruth worked in hospitals in Saginaw, Michigan, Berkeley, and San Monica, California.  Then she and a nurse friend made plans for a trip to Europe. They went overseas on a student government boat and made friends in various countries. They purchased a car in Paris and spent three months touring Europe. After the European tour, Ruth returned to Michigan in 1955 and worked three years at the Veterans Hospital in Dearborn, and two years with the Detroit Public Health Department. As she cared for families in the inner city, Ruth began a life-long appreciation for the Salvation Army.

Ruth married Russell L. Smith on August 26, 1960, at Central Methodist Church, Detroit. Russell had been a 1951 Canadian immigrant. They moved east to Boston University, where Russell was a student in the School of Theology. Ruth worked as a nurse at the Veterans Hospital in Boston.

In the summer of 1962, Ruth and Russell went on a six-week Bible Lands tour with Professor Harrell Beck. The study tour included Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. This trip and a 1997 Kenyan safari in Ruth’s retirement years were the highlights of her extensive travel, which included all fifty States and 26 countries.

In 1963 upon Russell’s graduation from seminary, they returned to Michigan.  Ruth joined him in service at United Methodist churches in Dearborn, Highland, Houghton Lake, and Ann Arbor. Ruth enjoyed the people in these various congregations and was supportive and helpful.

Ruth was not employed for seven years when the children– Andrew and Maria—were babies. She worked in various hospitals in southern Michigan. When she retired in 1994 from the Forensic Center in the Ann Arbor area, she had worked a total of thirty-seven years as an RN.

Survivors include her husband Russell, their children Andrew (Karen) of Clinton, NY, and Maria of Ann Arbor. Surviving siblings are Joanna Babcock of Port Richey, FL, and Philip Buskirk of Petoskey, MI, and a host of nephews and nieces. Ruth was a caring and adventurous person, a loving wife for Russell, and a mother to their children in 62 years of marriage.

Before coming to the Chelsea Retirement Community in 2010, Ruth and Russell spent sixteen years in a retirement community in Clearwater, Florida, and summers at their cottage on Douglas Lake, near where Ruth grew up.

A memorial service for Ruth was held in the Chapel at Chelsea Retirement Community.

A memorial to Ruth may be given to the Salvation Army or your favorite charity.

Condolences may be sent to Russell L. Smith, 801 W. Middle St., Apt 575, Chelsea, MI 48118.

The Michigan Conference