Ruth Alice (Corey) Jerger, “Mom”, “Ruthie”, “Grammy Ru”, passed away Tuesday evening, February 2, 2021 at the McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester after bravely & fearlessly battling ovarian cancer for several months.
Ruth was born June 11, 1935 in Fairfax, Vermont to Ethel (MacGowan) & Percy Corey. Ruth spent her childhood working on the family farm in Fairfield & attending school in the area. She graduated high school from Brigham Academy.
After graduation Ruth worked for 13 years at New England Tel & Tel in St. Albans working the switchboard. At the time it was the old time switchboard with the holes & wires.
In 1954 she met her husband & love of her life, Alfred Jerger at a dance at Hart’s Barn. Over the years we heard many stories about how Mom used to go to the dances with her older brother, Lyndon. One particular night she met a handsome gentleman from Ferrisburg. He asked if he could drive her home & according to Mom she said yes but Uncle Lyndy followed them all the way home. When Dad went in the service they lost touch only to be reunited one fateful night when Mom was working the switchboard. Our Uncle Augie, Dad’s brother, had broken down while driving truck. He called home for help & Dad answered the phone. Little did they know that Mom was the one working the switchboard to connect the call. She did not say anything at the time & that is how she found out he was home from serving in the Army. Not wanting to call, the only thing she could think of was to write Dad a letter letting him know that if he did not want to see her again he needed to return a picture of herself that she had given him. The next weekend Dad showed up at her home & the rest was history.
Mom & Dad married on March 30, 1963 at which time Mom left her job at the phone company and moved to the family farm in Ferrisburg. There they made a life together working the farm & raising two daughters. Katrina was born in June 1968 and Sonnia was born in January 1972. They raised us to be strong, independent & fearless, being as rough & tough as any boys they could have had.
Mom & Dad sold the farm in 1996 & made a home just up the road from the farm. Mom went to work at Shaw’s in Vergennes in the deli for several years before becoming a cook in the Vergennes Union High School cafeteria. She worked there for 13 years, developing close relationships with both her co-workers & the students, many of whom called her Grandma.
Mom had a love for life & everyone she came in contact with. She loved helping others; she loved children, having been a Brownie, Girl Scout & 4-H leader. Mom may have had two biological daughters but her children went beyond our home. She had & still has so many that look up to her & called her Mom. She had a wonderful sense of humor, one never knew what she was going to say, & the biggest heart that anyone could imagine. Since her passing we have been told over & over again that she was truly an angel here on earth. She loved to travel, whether it was just a day trip or one of our summer trips. Always up for an adventure, every year she would ask “where are we going to go this summer?” She loved to sit at her kitchen table & watch the birds at her feeder. Many times we would get a phone call letting us know what she had out there, especially if it was something new.
Mom loved to bake, always trying new recipes but in the end it always came down to her chocolate chip cookies. Many times when we would get off the school bus we would find warm cookies waiting. Even in the later years we would regularly get a telephone call saying she made cookies & to stop on our way home from work to get some.
Ruth was a member of North Ferrisburg United Methodist Church. Over the years she taught bible school, watched over the nursery & helped with church functions. Mom regularly attended Sunday services until she her older years, even then keeping up with the services with the weekly bulletin in the mail.
Left to cherish her memories, her spirit & every day that we were blessed to have her is her daughter Katrina Jerger & her partner, Jim Benoit of Ferrisburg and her daughter, Sonnia Leonard, her husband Matt Leonard, & the absolute love & joy of Grammy Ru’s life, Grandson Sawyer Alfred Leonard. They had a bond that only a grandmother & grandson could have.
She also leaves her sisters, Cecile Hutchins of Florida, Iona (Robert) Reed of Fairfield, brother Everett Corey of St. Albans, sister in law Joyce Corey of Fairfield, sister in law & brother in law Suzie Jerger & Gus D’Orazio of Colchester, sister in law & brother in law Molly & Everett Leonard of Massachusetts, sister in law Judie Jerger of Ferrisburg & sister & brother in law Margie & Pete Jerger of Ferrisburg, as well as a large extended family of cousins, nieces & nephews & many many friends.
She was predeceased by & now has joined her parents, Ethel & Percy Corey, her husband & our father, Alfred, her brothers Merton & Lyndon Corey, her twin sister, Ruby Minor, her brother in law Tommy Minor, her brother in law Clyde Hutchins, brother in law & sister in law Ruth & Carl Bull & brother in law Augie Jerger. Our comfort in this time is knowing that she has been reunited with all of them & that they are all once again together at a barn dance somewhere having the time of their lives.
We wish to thank Dr. Paul Unger & his staff for their compassion & care during this time. We also wish to thank Addison County Home Health, Nurses Sarah & Kathy, and the staff at The McClure Miller Respite House for the unbelievable, phenomenal & extraordinary care she received while she was there. They cared for her like family & we can never thank them enough for everything they did for her in her last days.
We will all miss her dearly every single day but, in Mom’s own words “I know you will miss me & it’s ok to grieve but remember, your lives need to go on”.
We will not be having any calling hours. There will be a memorial service in the Spring when the birds are chirping & the flowers are blooming, just like she would have wanted.
Contributions in Mom’s memory may be made to The Humane Society of Addison County, 236 Boardman St, Middlebury, VT 05753 or The McClure Miler Respite House, 3113 Roosevelt Highway, Colchester, VT 05446.