Ruth Lott

Obituary of Ruth H. Lott

Ruth Lott, Faithful Military Mother, Dies at 97 In recent years, Ruth Lott was known in York, Maine, as that kind lady with sparkling eyes and a Yorkshire Terrier constantly circling her feet or jumping in her passenger seat. Most days, they would park on the shoulder near Long Sands Beach, roll the windows down and breathe in the salty Atlantic air. She would knit, quilt, read, listen to her beloved Red Sox or Glenn Miller, and say prayers for her family — and anyone who could use them. But Mrs. Lott, who died at 97 on July 4 —Independence Day — was more than a silver-haired widow with a lot of free time. As a young woman, she traveled the world, serving as the rock of a large, sprawling military family. She volunteered in public schools and Catholic churches and later at the historic Nubble Light. Most of all, her oldest daughter, Nancy Carapezza, said, “She was always kind and open to making new friends and contributing to the community.” Mrs. Lott was born September 29, 1922, to John Patrick Holland, a pharmacist and World War I navy veteran, and Eleanor Gallagher Holland, who ran the household. One of three girls, her family lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Ruth attended Saint Joseph’s High School and planned to earn a degree in nutrition at Mount Saint Mary College. In 1941, she met a young Army Air Corps cadet, William Lott from Philadelphia, while she was working at a men’s department store in Manchester. “‘Are you going to ask me out or just keep buying all of these neckties?’” she recalled asking Mr. Lott, a Methodist, who had been browsing the accessory aisle — and staring at her. Eventually, he did ask her out and they began to date. With the Air Corps about to send William overseas to fly missions over Italy and Northern Africa, he proposed. She turned him down, though, worried he would not come back alive. When he did come home safely two years later, the interfaith couple married as soon as they could — on March 4, 1944 at Saint Augustine’s Church in Larchmont, New York, where, her family suggests, a rogue priest agreed to officiate in the rectory. Over the next two decades, the couple had three girls, Nancy, Deborah and Deirdre, and four boys, John, William, Peter and Patrick. Mr. Lott enjoyed a long career with the military that took the family from Panama to Japan, Chicago to Presque Isle, Maine. “I thought about divorce,” Mrs. Lott joked years later, remembering the family’s long drive through Maine’s northern woods while she was pregnant with their fourth child. “Dad would get transferred and Mom was always the logistics officer,” said her youngest son, Patrick, who took care of her in her final years. “She’d pack all of us up and make sure we all had a home and a seat in school.” “Wherever we landed, she had faith that things would work out,” Nancy said. “She made the best of wherever we were.” In 1985, Mr. and Mrs. Lott retired and settled in York, where her family had spent summer vacations. Mr. Lott passed away in 1993. “No one should outlive their partner for this long,” Mrs. Lott would tell her grandchildren. Mrs. Lott began to feel especially fatigued in early 2019, but she still managed to celebrate her ninety-seventh birthday at Fenway Park last September. It was the last game played at Fenway before the coronavirus pandemic, and she sat in the sun under a bright blue sky for all nine innings. Her health declined over the past few months, and she died at home in York, facing the ocean and breathing in the salty Atlantic air. In addition to her seven children, Mrs. Lott is survived by her younger sister, Jane Fitzgerald of Manchester, 19 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. She will be interned with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery. Days after her death, her sons and daughters were still receiving messages from the many people their mother had inspired over the years. “She always returned the smile and warmth,” one said. “She was a role model.” “What a wonderful life and woman.” In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Semper Fi Fund.
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