Sunday, April 09, 2006

Haroldee - R.I.P.

Her Obit in today's paper:

"Haroldee Ruth
RUTH, Haroldee, born August 18, 1946. Passed away at her home in Tucson, Arizona April 5th, 2006 after fighting her battle with small cell lung cancer using her "own weapons system…my gravel-bottomed Irish hooliganism." This culminated a fiercely independent life that began in Traverse City, Michigan, led to the stage in Chicago, teaching theater at the Interlochen Arts Academy, to her most recent passion, "doing TV" as a committed teacher, facilitator and producer at Access Tucson. Haroldee grew the world around her in wonderful ways, starting at home with her magical garden, which includes several ponds and fountains. Her door was always open, her coffee pot always hot, and her heart always receptive to anyone in need. Those she helped weren't just the two legged variety. Dogs, cats, and songbirds were a part of her life. She inspired others through her voracious and eclectic reading habits. Current events and politics were never far from her thoughts. A proud and reflective liberal, Haroldee championed free speech for all. The loves of her life encircled her husband and lifemate, Kelly Martinsen; her three sons, Edward, Sean, and Timothy; her sister, Dale and brother, Jon, and her parents, Lois and Bye. She is survived by four grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, countless other close friends and colleagues, and her other son, John. Haroldee reminded us recently of her determination to enjoy the end of her life on her own terms, telling us "I actually felt joy at taking control of this important journey. You know me, I always want to be the boss." In lieu of flowers, the family suggests remembrances be made to Access Tucson.

I found out this past Thursday when her husband, Kelly, called me with the news so I've been a bit down since and wasn't in the best of moods to blog much.

I met both of them back in 1990 when Kelly was a cabbie and I landed having him as "my regular driver" and we became friends. Via him, I met Haroldee (yes, that's her real name - blame her parents who wanted to name her after an uncle and that was the best they could come up with in trying to figure out how to feminize "Harold") and became friends with her as well. Both are wonderful people and friends to know and have and I always had a standing invite to their place for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When they bought their place, I recall her determination in digging up a huge hole in their back yard and dealing with the calcified, cement-like dirt so they could install a koi pond complete with hand-placed boulders, plants, filtration system, the works. Turned out great!

Access Tucson is the local public access station.