Our mother, Ruth Elinor Van Liere, died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Shalimar on July 16, 2021. Ruth was from Lynnfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of Charles and Evelyn Smith. She graduated from Wakefield High School in 1947. Shortly afterwards, she travelled to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she met and married 1LT. W. Peter Van Liere, on November 7, 1948. Ruth and Pete had 8 children while stationed up and down the east coast and on a tour to Germany. Ruth was constantly active raising their 8 children and participating in activities outside the home. She was a Cub Scout Leader, a Girl Scout Leader, a reading coach at Shalimar Elementary, an American Red Cross volunteer with the Vietnamese refugees, and an active volunteer with the Catholic Chapel at Eglin Air Force Base. Ruth was commended by the Florida State House for 35 years of service with the Ft. Walton Beach Women’s Club. Ruth and Pete became snowbirds after Pete’s final retirement, splitting the year between their homes in Brevard, North Carolina, and Shalimar, Florida, where they gardened to their heart’s content.
Ruth was predeceased by her beloved Pete, her husband of 56 years, in 2005. She leaves behind her sister, Shirley Jensen of Lynnfield, her brother James Smith of Maine; sons Peter and wife Dabney, Gregory, and Robert; and daughters Susan and husband Jim McCurdy, Debra and husband William Gifford, Cynthia and husband Tom Corrigan, Michelle Van Liere, and Celeste and husband Steve Delahunty. Ruth took great joy in her 14 grandchildren; Christiana Gifford Barnett, Rick Gifford, Rebecca Gifford Henzi, Erin McCurdy Bowers, Daniel Corrigan, , Lindsey McCurdy Wilhoit, Caitlin Corrigan Rausch, William Van Liere, Victoria McCurdy Wilwol, Celia Delahunty, Jessica Van Liere, , Ethan Delahunty, Liam Delahunty, Sarah Van Liere; and her 7 great-grandchildren; Evelyn and Baileigh Bowers, Charlee and Lily Wilhoit, Eileen, Connor and Elliot Rausch and two more great-grandchildren to be born within the year. Ruth also greatly enjoyed spending time with her nieces and great-nieces and nephew.
Donations may be sent to the National Kidney Foundation or the DAV. A visitation with the family will be held Saturday, July 24, 1:30-2:30 p.m., at St. Mary Catholic Church, 110 St. Mary Ave SW, Ft. Walton Beach. The Funeral Mass will follow at 2:30 with grave side services immediately afterwards at Brooks Memorial Cemetery on Shell Avenue, Ft. Walton Beach.
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