Grace Virginia Rutherford

image of Grace Rutherford

Grace Rutherford

Grace Virginia Rutherford (nee Uhthoff) was born July 17, 1922 in Englewood, New Jersey and passed away February 26, 2019 at home in Redmond.  At age 11 her father died and at age 13 her mother.  Her married 26-year-old sister then became her guardian and they moved to New York City where she attended Hunter College High School, then graduated from Hunter College.  During those years she became involved in the Girl Scouts, becoming a camp leader in the Adirondacks leading week-long canoe trips and assuming the nick-name “Ginger” which stuck life-long.  She also learned to fence, and in 1944 became US Women’s Collegiate National Champion.  Because it was WWII, immediately after college she became an officer in the WAVES (US Navy).  Lieutenant Uhthoff met and married Marine Major Robert Rutherford while they were stationed in Washington, D.C.  Rev. Peter Marshall, then Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, performed the wedding in the Lincoln Chapel of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in December 1945. In January 1946 they moved to Bob’s home, Seattle, and started attending University Presbyterian Church, their membership continuing for the rest of their lives.

After a short interval in Utah and Wyoming (Bob was a geologist) they lived the rest of their lives in Seattle.  Ginger taught elementary school for a couple of years, but after Susan and Nancy were born managed the home, plus some periods running the office for Bob when he owned an auto rebuild shop.  Two years after Bob passed away in 1990, Ginger joined daughter Susan in her home, enabling Susan to pursue a very full medical career.  In the last few years the roles were reversed, and also granddaughter Annie and husband Thomas and recently new great granddaughter Charis lived there.  Thus she was able to spend her last years surrounded by family, guests, and lots of comings and goings.

Ginger invested her life in family and those around her.  She became a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood in 1955, continuing lifelong in Chapter A, Seattle.  Ginger gardened on a small scale, but in 1962 she won Queen of the Show (grand prize in hybrid tea roses) at the Seattle Rose Society.  Ginger and Bob served together as Elders at UPC.  Ginger also was the first woman on the Board of Directors of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.

Hospitality, kindness, a gentle wit, and penetrating observations were some of her trademarks.  As she became more frail, with mild dementia, she retained her sweet personality, always thinking of others first.

Ginger is survived by daughters Susan Rutherford, Nancy Rutherford Sleight (husband Dick), grandchildren Ann Sleight Disher (husband Thomas), Nathanael Sleight (wife Cynthia) and Jean Sleight, and great grandchildren Charis Disher (15 months) and Jonathan Sleight (9 months).

Suggestions for memorial gifts:  Union Gospel Mission, Taproot Theatre,  3W Medical for Women, University Presbyterian Church

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