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'White Glove Lady' knew how to keep a quality house

December 16, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who recently died. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Ruth Marie Jones, who died Dec. 4 at the age of 83. Her obituary was published in the Dec. 6 edition of The Herald-Mail.

For the 27 years Ruth Marie Jones worked for the Vidoni family at The Venice on Dual Highway, she maintained a reputation as a straight shooter and trusted employee.

"I had complete faith in her," Richard Vidoni said by telephone. "There was nothing devious about Ruth - she always called it as she saw it."

Richard attended her Dec. 7 funeral so he could pay his respects and share his feelings with the family of Ruth, who died Dec. 4 at the age of 83.

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Ruth went to work at The Venice in 1963, cleaning rooms and working in the laundry. She was promoted to executive housekeeper after about seven years, continuing in that position until 1990.

Married young and a mother almost immediately, Ruth raised her family alone, first because of World War II and then because of her late husband's alcoholism, daughter Sharon Householder said at the funeral.

"She bandaged our scrapes and she taught us manners and life skills," Sharon said. Among those skills - also known sometimes as chores - were doing laundry, cleaning house, washing dishes and ironing.

In those chores, youngest child George "Rick" Jones always was included, his sisters said.

"Our mother was described as a survivor," daughter Susan Householder said. "Her 11-year-old great-granddaughter, Sarah Orendi, said we should have played the song 'I Am A Survivor' in her honor at the funeral."

The Jones kids got new clothes on holidays and when they went back to school. Many of those Ruth made, including several matching outfits.

Through the years, several of Ruth's four daughters worked in various jobs at The Venice in the summers, mostly in the housekeeping department where she worked.

"I was the baby sitter for customers at the hotel," daughter Judy Stevens said.

They all said Ruth was a taskmaster - for family members and other employees alike.

"Mom was nicknamed 'The White Glove Lady' because she was so particular," Sharon said. That was at home as well as at The Venice.

Susan said she remembers when her mother taught her how to fold fitted sheets at The Venice.

"We probably weren't very prosperous, but we always had birthday cakes and at Christmas, there were chocolate drops and cookies," Sharon said. "Mom was really big on the holidays."

Every birthday, Ruth sent cards to friends and family even when she was sick. She would telephone her children and sing to them, Sharon said.

"She also always called my grandson, Thomas, and sang to him," Judy said. To Thomas, who is 8 years old and disabled, Ruth was Mammaw.

Six weeks before her death, Ruth told her family that she had made the decision to go into a nursing home.

"We'd visit and chat with her then instead of spending our time doing chores around the house," Sharon said.

Robert Vidoni, Richard's brother, was unable to attend the funeral, but did visit Ruth while she was a resident at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro.

"We hadn't seen each other in years, but she was happy to see me," Robert said by telephone. "She was a good employee."

Involved mostly with the restaurant at The Venice since the late 1940s, Robert said the Vidoni family got out of the business altogether in 1998.

He described Ruth as one of the loyal employees who made The Venice a top-notch hotel/restaurant during its heyday, when it had between 130 and 140 employees.

Ruth had a lifelong love of bingo, lottery tickets and reading. Fortunately for her, there was bingo at Reeders, and her family and friends kept her supplied with lottery tickets and books.

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