Hill Funeral Home


Dorothy Ann Ruthven

February 29, 1932December 28, 2020

Dorothy Ann Ruthven, of Grand Blanc, Michigan, passed away at Regency of Grand Blanc on December 28, 2020 at 88 years of age.

Mom loved her children, her garden, music, dancing and life with “the drink” as the Irish say.

You may have thought you knew her… but she was complicated. She was fun loving, sharp and witty on the one hand and self-conscious, insecure and moody on the other. She faced many emotional difficulties and a myriad of medical conditions. She fought them hard and made her way through over and over and was famed for saying, “you can’t kill an old broad.” After 88 years and 10 months she finally succumbed to COPD.

Another favorite saying was, “one day at a time sweet Jesus” and that was a great comfort to her. From one day to the next you never knew what side you’d see. She was mercurial.

She most was proud of having created a blended family of “seven beautiful children.” Each child had a special place in her heart and she loved each of them unconditionally. Nothing brought her greater joy than spending time or hearing from her children. She couldn’t get enough of them.

Her garden was an annual tradition. Each plant was bought with care and attended to religiously. The summer blooms delighted her. Her garden was personified into loving, hating, or happy with her depending on her mood and how well it was doing. She couldn’t wait for May every year.

Her love of music no doubt originated from her musical family. Hardly a conversation went by without her recalling a song. She would sing a verse and do a little wistful dance. She adored her father, Harvey Barringer, and he was renowned for his ability to play most instruments with a string. Her older sister, Wanda Bruening, was her soulmate and she missed her terribly when she passed. Wanda was an accomplished steel guitar player renowned as an early teacher of the legendary Nashville session player, Paul Franklin.

Cocktail hour was her favorite time of the day and you would no doubt see her pretty blue eyes sparkle and hear her raspy laugh. She was jovial and made fun of her near daily foibles and adventures. She considered “the drink” her companion and life long friend. She is a benefactor of The Canadian Club.

She was well liked. When she came down the hall at Rosehaven Manor, they all wanted to talk to her. She wasn’t boring but rather the life of the party. She was funny and a force. She was observant and quick to get a beat on you. If you crossed her, it would take a long time to win her back. She either liked you or she didn’t. That was how she was.

Men and marriage disappointed her and she knew the dark side of disillusionment. Growing up In the 40’s and 50’s, they married young and had dreamy ideas of relationships. They were childlike, lived hard and day by day. They had great times and a lot of let downs. She recalled many fond memories from those days. She decided the single life was best for her, and in her later days, she said she had lived a full life and that was that.

It might surprise you that she was a successful investor in the stock market. She was a retail clerk throughout most of her life and earned very modest wages. She worked hard. Around 45 years old, following her second divorce, she began investing meager amounts in stocks like Detroit Edison and Southern. She was smart about it and kept at it. When she retired, she supplemented her social security with those investments and never wanted for anything. Truthfully she never wanted for much except for the love and attention of her children and a good time, with the drink.

She was impeccably dressed every day of her life and took great pride in it. If you were not, she might have said so. No matter how badly she felt, her ritual of dressing nicely and getting things done never wavered, and towards the end it just took longer. On the day she died, she arose at 6am, took her medications, put on some pretty Christmas red loungers, had her hair combed and tied back with a cute barrette. She was ready for the day, like every day, her last day.

Her sense of humor was wonderful and complimented her beautiful smile and raspy laugh. One day near the end she said, “I realize I agreed to being cremated and I am still good with that, but I’m afraid it will kill me.” We both laughed. Another time I asked, how you doing mom and she said, “you are asking the wrong person.” Near the very end, I asked a rather stupid question. What have you been doing today mom, and she said, “well… right now I am awake and before that I was asleep.” Goodnight and goodbye mom, rest in peace now. We will see you on the other side.

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