|Honored by:||Sheryl D. Gale|
|Brick location:||C:5 map|
Ruth Fairfield Day 1/27/1913- 10/29/1994 Certainly the decision to dedicate a brick in the Plaza of heroines was an easy one. The woman could be none other than Ruth Fairfield Day.
It is almost impossible to express the privilege it was to have had Ruth Day for a friend. She died 6 months ago and it is bittersweet whenever I allow myself the time to think of her in detail. Sweet as the memories flood my senses one leading to another ... bitter knowing she in gone-the memories bring her so close and yet she couldn't be further away. Enough about the circumstance of tonight. Why did I choose her to honor you ask... Because of the marvelous goals she set for herself and for the world. Of fairness and honesty hard work and dedication blended with a sense of kindness toward others a love of life of the outdoors and a way about her that made everyone feel comfortable when they were with her.
She loved learning and discussing she admired people with opinions and was always herself asking "why?". She loved deeply and was loyal. She took opportunities when they arose and faced challenges face forward. She had an enormous amount of energy and was a very good athlete. She went skating and skiing with us when she was in her late 50's which few women did back in the 1960's. She swam and rode a bicycle well into her 70's and played good tennis when she was in her 60's. I can't think of one thing she didn't like to do and she would often remark on how lucky she was to have energy and good health. She truely appreciated it. She would mingle with the Rockefellers and yet make a person at a check-out stand feel special. She was able to find good in just about everyone. And when things got tough she just got tougher.
Born in Hanover, New Hampshire to Arthur "Perry" Fairfield manager of the Hanover Inn and Amelia Griffith Fairfield homemaker she was the youngest of three children. Independent, alive not afraid to be alone she was well ahead of her time. She exceeded in sports tennis and women's basketball. She played the piano as well as the saxophone had a horse named Daisy and loved to ski. She spent one year after high school and before college living abroad with her best friend Doris Gilbert and Doris' family. There she studied piano in Paris travelled and expanded her knowledge. Then back in Connecticut College where she majored in English. After that she obtained her Masters of Elementary Education from Columbia University completing the two year course in one year because of financial hardships.
She married Emerson Day a childhood friend in 1937 and together they raised 5 children beginning in 1939. "She had high expectations of us. We always felt deeply loved by mom. It was an abiding love that transcended any need on our part to perform or to become someone or something in order to justify it. It was the grounding of our being" from Tad her oldest child. She raised her children to be open-minded to reach high to believe we could do anything given hard work and dedication.
In 1944, she and Emerson divorced. She moved with her three children to New Hampshire where she worked to support them. In 1952, Emerson and Ruth remarried and went on to have two more children. In Scarsdale, N.Y. where they lived she provided a lovely home. Often there would be guests staying at her home from all over the world. She also traveled with Emerson quite a bit on his speaking tours and once was gone with him for 10 weeks to New Zealand and Australia. She could be comfortable at the Noble Prize Awards where they were a guest in 1966 but she would be just as comfortable weeding in her garden. She was a good listener a good friend a very special person.
In 1969, she and Emerson moved to Chicago to pursue a career change for Emerson. She again provided a loving home for her family. She cared for three of her ten grandchildren over one year when their parents could not. In 1989, while at a shower for her 2nd daughter's wedding, she suffered a large stroke. She fought her way back to survive for another 6 years. These were perhaps the toughest years for her because the stroke had robbed her of her energy that she had previously been blessed with.
Even in those years she was in inspiration through her dignity and her grace. In summary Ruth was a special person. An inspiration to those who knew her. Her moral courage her sense of fairness her kindness her honesty made her a truely unique individual. I was privileged to have her an a friend as a mother.