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Ruth L. Forrest Profile Photo

Ruth L. Forrest

Ruth Louise Forrest (Boothby) was born on July 29, 1936 in Lawrence Michigan to Leroy and Barbara Boothby. She was the youngest of five children and became school friends with Bert James Forrest at a young age. The two grew up and married on October 16, 1954. Sixty-seven years later, they have raised quite a family tree: Jeffery Bert James (Cathy) of Fairfield, Ohio, Jerrold Scott (Kathie) of Columbia, Tennessee, Jann Allan (Michelle) of Kalamazoo, Jilliaune Sue (Michael Bennett) of Argos, Indiana, and Julli Lynne (Robert Bennett) of Plainwell. Ruthie’s family was her pride and joy. Besides her five children, she is survived by her 20 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren (2 more on the way!). Each felt special when they were around her, and each carry those memories close to their hearts.

Ruthie was a magnet to people and always found someone she knew to talk to everywhere she went. She loved to crochet and has made many memorable items. She adored music and her life reflected that: she played the organ and piano, often by memory. Ruth’s life of service has extended from a career of physical therapy, caring for her own parents when they needed assistance, to packing bags of food for needy children in the area. She carried a green thumb and always had a prolific garden to share with friends and family. Ruth will be missed deeply as she was such a loving soul to those around her. She had such sweet giggles, a brilliant smile, and a flawless wink to let you know she loved you.

In lieu of flowers, the family ask that contributions be made to the

Alzheimer’s Association

in her name.

Messages of condolence may be posted at


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Condolence Messages

Laura Pewitt

December 22, 2021 at 1:30 pm

We offer our sincere condolences to Jerry and Kathie Forrest, as well as to all of the other family members. You are in our prayers as you grieve the loss of this fine woman.

Love in Christ, , Laura and Brent Pewitt


Kris Kenz Locke

December 22, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Forrest Family,

I’m sorry for the loss of Ruth. She was extraordinarily kind; gentle with my shyness when I first met her (age 10) at the family home when my sister Kathie became engaged to Jerry, and right up to the last time I saw her, with Bert, at the Alamo Club Car restaurant where we enjoyed a good visit and a few hugs.

May the many memories of her help ease your grief.


Leeon & Dixie

December 23, 2021 at 8:03 pm

To Jr. and family,

We’re so sorry about the loss of our dear Aunt Ruth. We’ve loved her for many years and will miss her sweet smile and loving nature!



December 24, 2021 at 12:48 pm

Dear Bert and family

We were so sorry to hear Ruth passing. I know she is in heaven now enjoying and celebrating.

She was such a great neighbor always taking time out to come over and visit us as we were building our home. We couldn’t wait for our house to be done so she could sit on the porch with me and visit. She was so sweet and loved her husband and family so much, always building them up and charring so many memories.

Sad to say it wasn’t long after we completed our home her visits were cut short.

Ruth was so lovable and sweet I miss her. I know she loved me cause she always winked at me….

Your friend and neighbor

Walt and Pat


Pam Marsh

December 27, 2021 at 10:28 pm

I have known Ruth for close to 40 years, through her son Jann and wife Michelle. She was probably the “sweetest” woman I have ever met. She always had that beautiful smile and personality. I loved spending time in conversation with her. I am so very sorry for her loss for the Forrest family. Sending much love.



January 20, 2022 at 11:17 pm

I did not know her well

through the eyes of an adult,

ever creating connections and plot lines

Her name was not Ruth for the longest time

but Nena

I knew her through the eyes of a child,

the way a granddaughter inevitably looks up to her grandmother

She was taller, older, wiser

and I was a little girl, a frequent visitor

to that cozy white house at the end of the road

surrounded by fields, and fields of corn

I knew her in fragments, in moments, in objects

which, through a child’s eye, is how you learn someone

In the kitchen, which was perhaps the smallest room in the house

above the cupboards, she had teapots of all shapes and colors

elegant, resplendent, and I could only ever glimpse their tops

too short to view the rest of those elaborate dishes

I do not even know if she liked tea

The fridge, which was perhaps 25% of the kitchen,

was tacked and magnetted and taped with photographs

Her children, their children, her friends and family I didn’t know I had

My school picture, there along with my siblings’, pinned down

by magnets with character, animals and phrases I no longer remember

The cookie jar on the counter, my sister and I were always aware

though I cannot now recall exactly how it appeared

Transparent glass, I think, so that we could see what it contained

wrapped in plastic, never homemade

chocolate chip cookies—sometimes

but usually, it was oatmeal pies, sweet creme between two sides

store-bought, but soft—she always limited one per visit

We always wanted more, creeping in when we thought no one was looking,

staring through the clear glass at the desserts inside

What did she, a sweet-tooth, expect from us?

But we did not disobey

her rules, gentle but respected

collected and contained inside our heads since before we could


the swing-set? And how we felt as giants on tiny air planes

pumping higher into the air, full sun in our eyes

and Nena, either inside the house or the chicken coop

which she told us never to go in and we listened,

watching patiently from the other side of the wire fence as she gathered

eggs and explained things about chicken age and egg number

watching her hold three of four of those prizes in one palm

pointing with her other hand, to her ankles, blooming in shades of red

This kind of grass just irritates my ankles, she would say, I have to wear shoes and tall socks to come outside.

Often enough, she said this to us, so that when I noticed her barefoot

distress bloomed red on my chest because allergies, I was told, were not to be taken lightly

I knew her through the Bambi and Pinocchio statuettes she kept

on several tiny shelves in the dining room, overlooking the front porch

which was only ever big enough for one or two chairs

I knew her through the portrait of Jesus Christ on the wall when entering the living room

knew her through the shaggy carpet of her home, the pink and rose shades of the guest room

knew her through the organ or piano (she always tried explaining,

but I was too young to understand there was as difference

and I refuse now to learn, I think, if only to keep

that childhood mystery the same) in the living room

where she sometimes played, melodies second-nature

knew her through the way the end tables and coffee tables were perfectly arranged with doilies

knew her through the glass vase of philodendron

and the bright red betta fish it contained

knew her through the hallway of portraits, each grandchild for each frame

knew her through the toys she kept in the basement

little figures of plastic people who must have been as old as my mother

(or maybe as old as my mother’s oldest brother)

I knew her through simple things

The looping cursive of her script in each birthday card,

Her voice the most remarkable during birthday-candle-blowing singing

How on Christmas mornings, she and my grandfather arrived super early

She, plunging thin arms into our stockings, placing oranges atop candies

just content with watching, each of our faces unwrapping toys and characters

I don’t think she even recognized

Every Thanksgiving, she always said the blessing

I knew her through her ever-present perm

Through the thick-set of her thighs and natural wide-stance they gave her

A woman, planted and anchored

she was not so easily moved

I knew her through the semi-roundness of her glasses

Of the whole-hearted roundness of her smile

Teeth bright and clean, a gold crown winking from the back molars sometimes

I knew her through her military-folding-laundry-style

style that, when my mother was recovering from giving birth, I said to her

“She even folded my underwear”

economy and efficiency putting my ten-year-old skills to shame

I knew her through the red car she drove, the seats layered with a blanket

two throw pillows for decor, and cleaner than an OR’s floor

I knew her through sewing needles and unspooling thread through fabric

asking her to tie my pieces off because I didn’t yet know

to cut extra thread for doing knots

Knew her through the trail mix snacks we’d beg her for and she’d make us

(only after we ate all our lunch)

taking marshmallows, goldfish, raisins, chocolate chips—

taking pieces of things we never thought to conglomerate—

and serving them in our color-coded drinking cups,

Color codes she never got quite right

Blue for Forrest, Pink for Maci, Purple for Daisy

We only ever jokingly complained

I knew her through hands releasing blown goodbye kisses

usually from a distance, while she stood on her white porch

my parents car cutting left out of the driveway

the hands we’d raise behind glass windows

just to catch something wholly invisible

And winking—she did that till the very end

She attended every birthday party

(that was six, every year)

she was there, singing while we each waited

on the other side of the counter

lights shut off and flickering flames stinging one’s vision

in front of cakes, usually homemade, frosted and decorated,

planted with burning candles we used and reused for years and years

Sucking in breath

A careful, sometimes spit-splattered release

I wonder if her family did something similar for her birthdays

And when she took her last breath, I hope she was young again,

looking out at the kitchen of familiar faces,

her brothers and sisters, her parents, her husband and children

And when she passed

to the sound of her children’s laughter,

while they held her hands, head, and shoulders,

I hope letting go was easy

easy, as blowing out birthday candles


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