Skip to content


  1. Ace Russell


    You’ll see my nickname on this post, but the name your mother called me was David. You probably don’t remember me, but Ruth was one of my favorite teachers ever. Although we weren’t in touch in recent years, she was very dear to me and a big influence on my musical life. I took weekly lessons with her throughout junior high school and high school, and she was extremely helpful when I took on my first musical projects at the Oak Ridge Playhouse. She knew I practiced less than I let on, but she let me get away with it, while at the same time urging me on in her own way to improve my time management skills. I find myself using some of those same techniques in my own teaching career.

    Both your parents would occasionally socialize with my parents, but yours were genuinely fun (in very different ways) and I wished mine were more like them. My mother passed away last year, and she would always keep me up to date on what she knew about your mother. I know what you’re going through is hard. I often think of things I want to talk to my mother about … or things (like bad cholesterol numbers) I think I need to conceal from her. I prefer to believe that Ruth and Lee are still here, but I also believe they’re reunited with their loved ones. What an amazing thing about your parents’ anniversary!

    It’s fun to read about Ruth’s evening cigarette/martini walks. I think that may have been a habit that started in more friendly walking environments than your home on Outer Drive. I do have to confess that I stole my first cigarette from her elegant box in the waiting room, a room that had a great view of the Cumberlands. I quit smoking many years ago, but if I ever have another one, I’ll surely think of your mom. Maybe I’ll have a martini too!

    She will be missed by many, I’m sure. Hugs to you and yours.

  2. Pee (Ivy Manor)

    Hi Shelley,
    Sorry for your loss. Mom as we called her here was a good lady and we all loved her. It was pleasant getting to know her even though it was for a short time. Accept my condolence.

  3. Pat & Charo Hidalgo

    Shelley, we are so sorry to hear of Ruth’s passing. She was a wonderful, friendly lady who always had time for a quick chat at the neighborhood mailbox. I very much enjoyed our daily martinis and chats. She invited us once to a concert at the Peabody Conservatory where she was well-liked among her peers. She was one of the first to welcome us to the neighborhood in 1981. We will always have fond memories of Ruth. May you find peace and comfort in the memories you hold dear. With our deepest sympathy, Pat & Charo Hidalgo

  4. Diron Carr

    My heart absolutely broke upon receiving your message. When I think back to those magical childhood years on Golden Hook your mom and your dad were both a special part of that magic. Mrs. Fisher was so sweet and easy to talk to, she always took the time to really talk to us, laugh with us, get to know us, and of course keep us boys in-line lol.. Her evening walks with her cigarette and martini were her signature and you were her pride! Cheers Mr and Mrs. Fisher!

  5. kel berg

    Shelley i was saddened to hear about your mom but know she is at peace. i will always remember meeting her at book club and having great conversations. she was so nice! i loved reading all these comments about her:) Thinking of you!

  6. Mike and Kim Zanski

    Shelley and Brian, Our condolences to both of you. Shelley, It goes without saying that we were deeply saddened to hear about your mother’s passing on. But it comes as a profound punctuation point to a wonderful life. And as we know that you were very proud of your parents, your feelings for them were only outdone by their pride in you. Your parents were great conversationalists. They were distinctly different personalities, but both possessed a keen sense of humor. Your mother in particular used to love "mixing it up" with me. A bit of a smart alec myself, I always loved to exchange jabs and horrible puns with her, just to get a reaction. Oh, we enjoyed a number of serious conversations as well, but our forte was a spirited repartee. In addition to the evening walks, often times while we were walking our two handfuls of dogs, she’d also occasionally drive by and yell something at me that would spin me up and then she’d drive away with a big grin on her face, totally immersed in a superior sense of self-satisfaction. But I’d lay in ambush for her and get even…It was AWESOME and GOOD SPIRITED FUN…A bunch of old folks acting like little kids…We loved it. Of course the Main Event was always the Holiday Gathering with Christmas Carols and great "eats." Like clock work, we’d put our first Christmas ornaments out on the front lawn on the first Saturday of December to remind us of the big shindig that night at the Fishers. We certain will miss both your mom and dad (a fellow cheesehead of mine, as your dad and I were both from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin). And I believe that I can echo the sentiments of those who knew them both when I say that we are all better people for having known them. On behalf of Kim and myself, please accept our deepest sympathy but wrapped in an even greater sense of comfort and love. God rest their souls.

  7. Darlene Prekob

    Dear Shelley… I heard from Andy that your mom passed away just recently and in an instant, I was back on Golden Hook enjoying one of the many much anticipated yearly Christmas gatherings. Your mom and dad were amazing hosts and we never felt more welcome. In the warmer months, her evening walks, presented me with the opportunity to engage in interesting and amusing conversation and stories. Some that I still talk about today.
    Please know that your mom was so loved, respected and admired by so many including me.
    My deepest condolences to you.

  8. Andy Wade

    Hi Shelley,

    I am saddened to hear of your moms passing but it is with great fondness that Ruth is remembered alongside your dad for their great kindness and generosity that they showed to both Darlene and I as the first newcomers to the "Golden Hookers" in 19 years. We were strangers in many ways to this unique club – A Brit and a Canadian thrown into the mix. This however, was not to be a barrier for either of us and very quickly we settled into life in Columbia, Maryland. Darlene and I both had great affinity for both Ruth and Dale and miss them both along with all the alumni of the club who have moved onto to pastures new. But without doubt the lasting memories will be of the wonderful Christmas gatherings – one of my favorite times of the year that I looked forward to, such wonderful nights, and woe betide anyone who leaned on the grand piano!!!! Dale would regale us of his times in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. If there is any solace to be gained from this it is that Ruth and Dale are now reunited in the eternal forevermore but not to be forgotten for their short time passing through the physical world.

  9. Rick O'Brien

    Shelley-Your mom will surely be missed. The world is a lesser place without her in it. I so enjoyed our years of living on Golden Hook. It was a great neighborhood with lots of friends and Ruth was certainly the centerpiece. Our kids have great memories of living there.
    I know the pain, the sense of loss, of losing your mom. I lost my mom just a few years ago and I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think of her in some palpable way.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Rick (Santa)

  10. Isabelle Coppens

    Isabelle and Mustafa, the 6332 Golden Hookers,

    Dear Shelley,
    Mustafa and I received your letter this week, and felt immediately sad to learn that Ruth, your lovely and warmful mother has recently deceased. We hope you are fine. Seeing the pictures of Ruth had triggered for us a lot of souvenirs. We will never forgot how much Ruth had welcoming us when we moved to Golden Hook, how chatty she was with us in the street (with a glass of Martini with 2 olives), and the apotheosis was of course her memorable Christmas parties with shared food and corals (and her comment about how bad we were singing!). What a solar person Ruth was….
    We will be listening to you on Tuesday for the Celebration.
    Isabelle Coppens
    Mustafa Akkoyunlu

  11. Suzanne DeVoe

    My brother Chris and I were piano students of Ruth from our time in early elementary school through our senior years of high school. I remember her fun ice cream student recitals and the more formal and nerve racking parent recitals she eloquently hosted with Dale. She always baked the best desserts and was so generous, sending us back home with the rest of her delicious treats. Looking back, she was more than a piano teacher to me. She was a consistent source of support, encouragement and kindness that I got to receive throughout my childhood and adolescence. Even when I practiced less and wasn’t the best student in high school, she was always kind and gave delicate doses of constructive criticism that always made you feel good for the positive things you played in the music. There’s a lot of praise and gratitude due to someone who helps build a child’s developing self-esteem with encouragement and positivity.
    I hope she rests in peace, being united with her husband again. My condolences to Shelley and her loved ones!

  12. John & Judy McDermott

    Ruth was the first person we met when we moved onto Golden Hook 37 years ago. She always had her evening walk with her martini and cigarette. We had many good conversations when she stopped to talk with us. Ruth was very interested in what our sons, Andrew and Stephen, were involved in at school or sports. We looked forward to her annual Christmas caroling party. It was enjoyable to have such a great pianist to play for us while we sang so many Christmas carols. We had to sing for our dinner! It was always a great gathering with great food and catching up with neighbors.

    Our condolences to Shelley.

    John & Judy McDermott

  13. Lisa Carr Lang

    Ruth was an angel in my life. She showed up when I needed her most. She was a strong influence when I was growing up with Shelley, and she was my friend when I came back to Columbia to start my own family. Ruth knew how to listen, and she listened deeply. She knew how take the important things seriously and laugh at the rest. Rest in peace, Ruth. Cheers to you and Dale. xoxo

  14. Daniel Babish

    We are so sorry to learn of Ruth’s passing. Besides being a neighbor and part of our children’s childhood as piano teacher, she was a friend. You could never stop to chat with Ruth and not hear an interesting story that often revealed her sharp wit. She was a character and a delight, and will be missed by all who knew her. The world is truly a better place for the life she lived. Our condolences to Shelley and all her loved ones.

    Irene & Dan Babish

  15. Nancy Burns

    The Fishers and I lived at opposite ends of the same street. Many, many years ago, Ruth would walk up the street every night with a martini in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. My daughters, who were quite young at the time, used to call her "The Martini Lady." At the time, I was still smoking, and would meet her several times a week to walk up the street together, and talk about our day. Whenever I think of Ruth, I think of her walking up the street toward my house where I would meet her for our nightly walk, wonderful conversation, and more often than not, a good laugh.

  16. Pat & Miles Weigold

    While not a surprise, Pat and I were saddened to learn of your Mom’s passing. She was the first to greet us on 6/4/1976 when we moved in next door. For the next 30+ years she and your Dad were not just wonderful neighbors but close friends who depended on each other when needed. Countless dinners prepared by Ruth, daily "martini’ walks, summer gardens, shoveling snow in winter and raking leaves in summer kept us all close. The highlight for us was 30 years of Christmas pot-luck dinners with the "Golden Hookers" hosted by your Mom and Dad. Ruth would sit at her beloved piano, pass out the songbooks and we all joined in singing Christmas carols. We’re confident no one present had a better time than did your Mom.

    You were luck to have her with you for such a long time. Treasure the memories. Pat and I will always do so with a song in our hearts and piano accompaniment by Ruth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.