Bath – Ruth Hester Craig Innes, died in her sleep August 27th, 2021 in Brunswick, Maine at the age of 92. Born June 28th, 1929 in her beloved St. George, New Brunswick, Canada, Ruth lived independently in her house in Bath, Maine right up until July 5th, when she was injured in her home and declined swiftly until her passing.
The younger of two daughters of Adeline Williamson and Lawrence Craig, Ruth always treasured memories of running in the fields and woods of her parents’ property, helping tend chickens, their horse and occasional milking cow, the family dog Bruce, learning to skate on nearby ponds and creeks, walking back and forth the mile to school, summers housekeeping on an historic island (Ministers) isolated twice daily by the Bay of Fundy’s famously high tides, and learning piano from her mother and a succession of teachers well into her 20s.
After she graduated from St. George High School in 1946, she attended Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick and graduated in May 1950. From there, she moved to a technical assistant position at the National Research Laboratory in Ottawa, Ontario, where she thrived with new friendships and activities, including skating miles on the frozen Ottawa River with lab colleagues.
In 1951, she met K. Keith Innes at the National Lab after he completed his PhD at the University of Washington and moved to Ottawa to work with eventual Nobel Laureate Gerhard Herzberg in chemistry, physics and spectroscopy. Ruth and Keith worked and grew together, committing to marriage Christmas of 1951. They were married August 20th, 1952, in Ruth’s hometown, honeymooned on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, and then returned to Ottawa.
From there, Ruth moved with Keith to his first teaching position at the University of Oklahoma in Norman in the fall of 1953, and then to Nashville in 1954 with a position at Vanderbilt University. Ruth and Keith’s two sons were born there, in 1956 and 1958. Ruth had begun teaching math part-time at local schools but gave that up to raise her sons and maintain their home.
Ruth remained in Nashville until 1968, providing quality education and rearing for her children and instilling in them a love for music and the outdoors via the many parks in Tennessee, including the Great Smoky Mountains, and northward to New Brunswick, where the family went each summer to maintain ties to family, origins and the beauty of the Maritimes.
Ruth led the move from Nashville to Binghamton, New York, where Keith held a professorship in the State University system until his retirement in 1990. She continued to support her family’s development through middle school, high school, and college years, maintaining patience and purpose through all the twists and turns those years bring.
Also notable across the years were the many challenges Ruth faced and overcame: living far from New Brunswick and her family; contracting tuberculosis in Nashville; the moves and continuing deferral of her own career goals; Keith’s early onset of Alzheimer’s disease just as retirement years approached; caring for Keith over the ten years until his death in 2000; relocating and reestablishing her life on her own in Bath, Maine. There she loved volunteering to collect and process water quality samples from the Kennebec River for Friends of Merrymeeting Bay (a great choice for donations in her memory - https://fomb.org/), while maintaining her house and her life as she chose, until her passing.
In addition to her parents, cherished aunts and uncles, and husband Keith, Ruth was preceded in death by her sister Jean, of Vegreville, Alberta. She is survived by her proud sons, Richard of Orange, Massachusetts, and Alister, with daughter-in-law Gretchen and grandchildren Colin and Gillian in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ruth’s remains have been cremated at her request and will be buried in the Craig family plot in Second Falls Cemetery, New Brunswick in 2022.
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