Ruth S. Atkinson, of Dartmouth, passed away on April 30, 2013. Daughter of Hazel P. Tripp and Walter W. Atkinson, sister of Hope Atkinson, Ruth Showalter Atkinson was born in New Bedford where she attended New Bedford public schools. In her childhood and youth she summered in the South Dartmouth summer colony of Bay-View, as had her mother before her.
She attended The Swain School of Design in New Bedford and then became the manager of the art supply department at Akin-Denison Company an old established firm in New Bedford. When in 1955, after 106 years in business, Akin-Denison closed its doors, Miss Atkinson opened a business under her name where she added fabrics and wallpaper to her line. At this time she leased a small area in another old New Bedford firm, Cromwell’s Art Store, a framer located on the corner of Pleasant and Spring Streets in New Bedford.
In 1967, she expanded her business in a move to Elm Street in South Dartmouth. At that time, she offered full interior decorating services. Although semi-retired in 1980, Miss Atkinson continued to maintain her decorating business working from home. In time, many of her clients were third generation members of families with whom she had worked through the early years of her business. Ruth Atkinson was well-known for her innate sense of color and her excellent taste. She was highly respected among her peers in the field of decorative arts.
Ruth Atkinson was well-known for her charming small watercolors painted during her various travels. She exhibited at the French Library in Boston, Alliance Francaise in Washington, DC, Westport Art Group and Nonquitt.
In the early 70’s, Ruth and her sister moved to Russells Mills and became full-time Dartmouth residents.
She was very active with Louise Strongman in Girl Scout Mariners and served as Skipper of the Mariner Ship LAGODA.
As a Mariner, Ruth was privileged to take several coastal voyages with world-famous sailor Irving Johnson aboard his Brigantine YANKEE. These cruises were the start of a life-long friendship with the Johnsons.
After their Mariner years, she sailed with YANKEE in Europe both in France and on the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea. Late in the 70’s and into the 90’s she and her sister chartered their own small cruiser in France. They ran it themselves with Hope as Captain and Ruth as Crew/Cook. They completed their 19th such adventure on the rivers and canals of France in 1999.
Miss Atkinson was a charter member and past-president of Paskamansett Bird Club. She was a charter member of Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, Westport Historical Society and the Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies. She was a life-long member of Old Dartmouth Historical Society. She was also a charter member of Friends of Dartmouth Libraries and was an active member of Allen’s Neck Community Club serving as its President for several years. She was a member of the French Library and Cultural Center as well as a member of the Bierstadt Society and Westport Art Group.
In lieu of flowers please make contributions to Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, 404 Elm St., Dartmouth, MA 02748, New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740 or The Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, 430 Potomska Rd., Dartmouth, MA 02748.
Her funeral services are private.