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Obituary: Ruth M. Best

Ruth M. Best, of Henrietta, NY, previously of Port Washington, passed away on March 6, 2012 at the age of 89. Surviving are her loving children, Heidi Best, Ithaca, NY, David Best, Henrietta, NY, and Steven Best and his wife Ellen, Henrietta, NY; her caring grandchildren, Sarah Best, Laura Best, Zachary Best and Daniel Best. Also surviving is her devoted sister, Joan Cottingham, Westport, CT, and her stepdaughter, Lauren Tucker, Alamos, CA; two nephews, one grand-niece and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Jack Best and by her dear brother, Robert Cottingham.

Born on May 12, 1922 in Fort Wayne, IN, Ruth’s love of music began as a young girl spending many hours playing piano and singing. Ruth studied voice at Ithaca College and was given a scholarship to Eastman School of Music, which she attended. In pursuit of a career as an opera singer she moved to New York City.

Ruth became a member of the Robert Shaw Collegiate Chorale in 1941. She was chosen to sing at Carnegie Hall in Gabrilowitsch memorial concerts, and in the chorus for the NBC appearance of Leopold Stokowski, and performed on Broadway with Olsen and Johnson. In 1943 she was invited to sing with Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians and performed both in radio’s very popular Chesterfield Pleasure Time program, as well as touring with the Waring group. In 1949, she left her career to raise a family in Fresh Meadows and then Port Washington. She learned how to type in Braille and did several documents for the National Library. Ruth was a member of the adult chorus at the Congregational Church of Manhasset, then conducted by her husband. After her children were grown, she worked for 18 years in the Customer Service Department of Publisher’s Clearing House.

Family was the most important part of Ruth's life and she loved every moment she spent with her grandchildren. In her own words her marriage, children and then grandchildren were her “raison d’être.” Her beautiful and singular soprano voice expressed the true essence of her soul. She will be very much missed by her family.

A memorial gathering for friends and family will be held at a later date. She will rest with her husband, Jack at Calverton Memorial Cemetery. Donations in Ruth's name may be made to Lifetime Care Hospice, 3111 S Winton Rd., Rochester, NY 14623.