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Ruth A. Gillette, 92

SHEFFIELD, Mass. — Ruth A. Gillette, 92, of Miller Avenue, Sheffield, passed away February 16, 2018, at Geer Nursing with her family beside her. She had been a resident there since September.

Born in Springfield, on January 25, 1926, she was the daughter of Mabel Boice LaDoux Tibbetts and Raymond LaDoux. Her early education was at Mittineague School in West Springfield. After moving from West Springfield to Egremont, she attended and graduated from Searles High School in 1944, and then studied art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Ruth married the love of her life, John F. Gillette, June 7, 1947 at St. Peter’s Church in Great Barrington. He passed away November 15, 1984.

Ruth worked for Gilligan Brothers (Sheffield) and Maplewood Fabrics (Ashley Falls). On February 8, 1980, she was appointed Assessor for the Town of Sheffield and elected to the same position at the annual town election May 12, 1980. She obtained her designation as Massachusetts Accredited Assessor (MAA) #242 on November 12, 1981. On May 12, 1992 she was elected Chairman and held this designation until July 5, 2005, 13 years! Ruth was presented The Wilson Award plaque November 14, 2002 by the Massachusetts Association of Assessors’ Officers with the inscription that reads, “Presented to the Assessor who has made the most outstanding contribution to the assessing profession and whose dedication to the field of assessing and the community and the state she represents has earned her this award.” She retired May 2008.  Ruth was also Past President of the Berkshire County Assessors Association.

She was a longstanding member of the Sheffield Historical Society and Our Lady of the Valley Woman’s Club. Ruth volunteered at Fairview Hospital, the American Red Cross blood drives for over 46 years, ushered at Tanglewood for 10 years, and was very active with the American Cancer Society’s Daffodil Days fundraiser. Her most memorable travels were to China, Hawaii, Rome, London, Paris, Washington, D.C., and California.


Ruth was a devout Catholic and communicant of Our Lady of the Valley Church. Her family and friends were the most important part of her life; she never missed a gathering and always brought her famous Watergate Salad for them to enjoy. She was an avid reader of books and magazines, especially Antique Trader, and Kovels. She spent hours playing Solitaire, working on crossword and jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku and Word Search. 

Musically, Ruth played the piano and loved listening to the Easy Instrumental TV channel as she fell asleep. The Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics were her sports teams, and she never missed a horse race. She enjoyed ice skating, anything on PBS, specifically Antiques Road Show, and adored Derek Hough from Dancing with the Stars: If he was eliminated she refused to watch anymore. Ruth was an artist and architect, impeccable seamstress, quilter, and could follow any crochet or knitting pattern. She loved watching the birds and, when a male cardinal often came to her window feeder at Geer, she said it was John checking up on her.

Ruth is survived by two daughters, Jeanne Peck (Gregory) of Egremont and Susan Gillette of Sheffield; two grandchildren, Jennifer Peck Schoonmaker of Egremont and Aaron Peck (Carolyn) of Stone Ridge, N.Y.; and six great-grandchildren; Zachary Wright, Maryn and Max Schoonmaker, Adrian, Matthew and Samantha Peck.

Ruth, a k a Mom, Nan, Nana, GG, Ruthie, Aunt Ruth, will be missed by all who loved and knew her, but they take comfort knowing she is finally (as she always said), “…dancing with John again, although he didn’t like to dance!”

Funeral notice: At Ruth’s request, there will be no calling hours. Funeral services and burial will take place on a later date at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shriner’s Hospital in care of Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230, in her memory.

The family expresses a special thank you to the group of women who cared for Ruth for over three years, allowing her to remain at home. Thanks also to the staff at Geer for their care and attention to Ruth’s needs.

Friends can send cards to Jeanne Peck & Susan Gillette, 18 Town House Hill Rd., Gt. Barrington, MA 01230