Witherell Resident Spotlight: Ruth Albert

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Ruth and David Albert.

Some very interesting folks with fascinating personal stories reside at The Nathaniel Witherell. Every few weeks, Witherell features a new “Resident Spotlight” article, which is framed and found on the wall by the chapel foyer. From time to time, we’d like to share some of these stories with you on the blog. Below is our second feature, a short Spotlight piece profiling resident Ruth Albert. (Her husband, David Albert, is a Witherell Short-Term Cardiac Rehab “alum,” following open-heart surgery earlier this year.) A special thank you to Sally Van Leeuwen, Witherell’s volunteer coordinator, who wrote the original story.

Ruth Albert, age 84, was born and raised in Queens, NY, and grew up with two sisters and one brother. She took piano lessons throughout her youth and attended Jamaica High School, where she played three sports and was captain of the basketball team. From there she headed to Hood College in Maryland and graduated with honors.

Even though Ruth attended the same high school as her future husband, David, they did not meet until she was a junior in college. They were introduced by her friend, David’s cousin. On their very first date, David told her they would eventually be married. Ruth demurred but suspected he was right, even though she had been dating another fellow for two years.

Ruth and David tied the knot in 1952, when she was 22. They lived for two years in New Haven, CT where David attended Yale Law School and Ruth worked office jobs to pay for his tuition.

The couple moved to Greenwich where David had been hired at a local law firm. Ruth worked as a piano teacher, even as the couple raised three daughters. She then helped to establish the Center for Chamber Music in Greenwich and was its Executive Director for ten years.

Over the years, Ruth became involved with many of Greenwich’s nonprofit institutions, serving on countless boards. Among the most noteworthy was the Greenwich Library, where she chaired the fundraising efforts for the new Cos Cob Library. She also served on the boards of United Way of Greenwich and Kids in Crisis (during the time it moved to its current Cos Cob location). Ruth became president of Temple Sholom (1977-1980) and is still the only woman in its 98-year history to have served in that position. She also had a very long involvement with the Girl Scouts, beginning as a troop leader (for 22 years), and culminating in a position as vice president of the Girl Scout Council of Southwestern Connecticut.

Ruth has received many awards for her countless hours of service to the Greenwich community. The Girl Scouts presented her with the Thanks Badge, and the YWCA selected her to receive the Spirit of Greenwich Award. She was also named Volunteer of the Year in 2004 by the Volunteer Center of Southwestern Fairfield County.

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