Cover photo for Ruth A. Kupfer's Obituary
Ruth A. Kupfer Profile Photo

Ruth A. Kupfer

May 8, 1946 — January 20, 2024

Reading

Ruth A. Kupfer

Ruth Ann Kupfer, age 77, of Reading, died on Saturday, January 20, at her residence.

She was born in New Britain, Connecticut on May 8, 1946, and was the daughter of the late Donald and Irene (Schrodel) Kupfer.  She is predeceased by her sister Joan Kupfer Novello. She will be missed by her daughter Emily Shick, Emily’s partner Padraic Joyce, her brother-in-law Peter Novello and his family, her former husband, Bruce Shick, as well as her many close friends.

Ruth was the kind of person who made you feel like the most interesting and important person in the world, but was so interesting herself that you could know her for a lifetime and still not reach the depth of her many varied interests.

She could go years, or even decades, without seeing someone and still be thrilled if she heard from them. She could talk to anyone and find common ground, always searching for ways to connect and looking for what makes a person tick.

A lifelong lover of cats, Ruth fondly remembered every cat she ever had, lovingly reminiscing about silly things that made each one unique, such as Teddy’s love of donuts or Minky’s sharing of bowls of frozen peas with Ruth’s beloved daughter, Emily. She truly valued their presence in her life, even going so far as to take their advice from time to time. On one memorable occasion, Emily got home from school and found Ruth at home; when asked why she was home, Ruth replied nonchalantly, “Minky told me to stay home.” Ruth genuinely loved all animals, big and small.

Ruth truly loved educating others, sharing knowledge she was passionate about and experiencing the joy that comes from watching someone grow. From mentoring junior employees at the Federal Reserve during her 37-year tenure, to teaching Emily and her friends the right way to drink scotch, her firm but compassionate guidance made a lasting impact. 

Ruth was passionate about improving the world around her and engaging with the community meaningfully, not simply by providing informal lessons but also through donating her time and resources to the causes she cared about. She was President of the Board of Directors of the Gibson House Museum in Boston, the Treasurer of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers Maine chapter, a member of the Sandy Bay Yacht Club of Rockport, a volunteer at the Reading Public Library, a former volunteer at the Peabody Essex Museum, and a regular donor to Esperanza Academy of Lawrence, a tuition-free all girls middle school improving the lives of children in underserved communities.

Visitation for relatives and friends will be held at the McDonald Funeral Home, 19 Yale Ave., Wakefield, on Friday, February 2, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. There will be a celebration of Ruth’s life at a later date.  


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