CAMDEN - Ruth Weyburn Parker, 98, died Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at the Quarry Hill Gardens in Camden, with family by her side. “Woofie,” as she was known to her many, many friends, had a favorite saying: “I’m so lucky.” She was indeed fortunate to have had so many loving family members and friends in her rich life, but those who knew her and loved her were the truly lucky ones.
Woofie was born in Boston on March 2, 1920 to Lyon and Ruth Anthony Weyburn of Prides Crossing, Massachusetts. She attended the Master’s School, Dobbs Ferry, New York. At twenty she married Henry S. (Harry) Parker, Jr. of Hewlett, New York. They shared fifty-five years of love, fun, high adventure, and daunting challenges. In October, 1941 the virtual newlyweds set sail for Honolulu where Harry took command of a PT boat based in Pearl Harbor. For six weeks the young couple enjoyed sparkling beaches, balmy tropical nights, and the carefree, party-like atmosphere of pre-war Hawaii. That all changed early Sunday morning, December 7. While Harry fought at Midway and other distant locales in the weeks and months ahead, Woofie remained in Hawaii, armed with the only “weapon” available—a toy pistol. She rolled bandages for wounded sailors and soldiers and served in the Army’s Office of Censorship and the Women’s Air Raid Defense, working grueling, back-to-back seven-hour shifts.
After the war, Woofie and Harry fetched up in South Freeport, Maine where they co-founded the South Freeport Yacht Basin, helped to organize the Harraseeket Yacht Club, started a junior sailing program, became accomplished sailboat racers, skied most of the slopes of northern New England, and launched four seaworthy children. Woofie was a crew member on the Harraseeket Yacht Club women’s Adams Cup sailing team that made it to the national championships in 1957. She also taught local kids how to ski on the steep, tree-covered slopes of their South Freeport back yard, led a Campfire Girls group, and was a dedicated Sunday school teacher. Seemingly forsaking sleep, Woofie studied for her real estate license, became a successful, highly regarded realtor, and established her own real estate firm.
Woofie and Harry moved to Jameson Point, Rockland in 1989. As Harry’s health declined, they spent more and more time in Stuart, Florida where Woofie was a volunteer at the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club and honed her tennis skills. When Harry died in 1995, Woofie sold the Florida place to be full-time at her beloved Maine coast and to focus on her passion of fostering sailing, seamanship, and sportsmanship skills in young people. She co-founded the Community Sailing Program at Atlantic Challenge in Rockland and joined the organization’s Board of Directors. She was a member of the Camden Yacht Club and was on the club’s membership committee. An active member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rockland, she served on the parish’s vestry. She was a member of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America. She skied until her late 80’s, including in the Alps. She particularly loved the Camden Snow Bowl. She traveled extensively, even into her 90’s, with destinations that included Europe, South America, Alaska, and Greenland.
Woofie is survived by her children, Henry S., III (Hank), Anthony W. (Tony), Ruth Ann Lonbay (Ann), and Lyon S. (Steve); and by her nine grand-children and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be scheduled and announced at a later date.
Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.