Ruth A. Wilding-McLaughlin
Ruth Wilding-McLaughlin, 88, who moved to North America in 1954 on a whim and ended up living in Canada and the U.S. for the next 62 years, including 48 of those years in Storrs, died October 12, 2016 in San Diego, California. Mrs. Wilding-McLaughlin was born in Birmingham, England on November 23, 1927, one of seven children. She attended the University of Birmingham and earned a masters in French literature from the University of Connecticut. In addition to working at UConn and teaching at E.O. Smith High School, Ruth was a community activist during her time in Storrs. Among other things, she headed up a group that fought the Pfizer Corporation when it wanted to put a plant on the famed Horsebarn Hill. The group's efforts were successful. Pfizer backed down. Always public-minded, she also worked with prisoners, helping them to earn their GED's. In 1994, she was the lone holdout on a jury that wanted to send a man to prison for 18 years. Unconvinced that the evidence was strong enough, and despite strong pressure from her fellow jurors, she voted against conviction. Her stand in the case was later written about in the Hartford Courant. None of this would have happened, of course, if she and her husband, Jack Wilding, hadn't decided to move to Canada in 1954. Having just spent a couple of years in West Africa, where they were married in 1952, they were vacationing on a beach in the south of France, wondering where they should move to next, when an acquaintance suggested Montreal. "We were looking for somewhere to go that wasn't England - too dreary - and we thought what have we got to lose, let's give it a go. Our friend painted it as the land of milk and honey. Of course, when we arrived in the middle of winter and it was 20 degrees below. We cursed that friend for many years," said Ruth. In addition to being a voracious reader and a crossword buff, Ruth was also an avid tennis player and a huge fan of classical music. She is survived by her four children; Mark, David, Sandy and JoAnne, her daughters-in-law, Darcy and Jimmie, her son-in-law, Ian, her sisters Grace and Sandy, and her six grandsons; Mark, Jack, Jason, Andy, Samuel and Thomas. Ruth was predeceased by two of her husbands - both professors at UConn -- Jack Wilding, who died in 1971 and Charles McLaughlin, who died in 2015. Ruth's family will receive relatives and friends on Wednesday October 19, 2016 from 10:00am to 11:00am at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson St. (Rte. 195) Willimantic, with her funeral service beginning at 11:00am at the funeral home. Burial to follow at the Storrs Cemetery, Mansfield. For an online memorial guestbook please visit www.potterfuneralhome.com .
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