Ruth Arnold Hill Hartenau, a longtime Larchmont resident, died peacefully on Sunday, September 11, 2011 in Rye, New York at the age of 104.
Ruth was born in Rumford, Rhode Island on July 29, 1907 to Frank Allen Hill and Carrie (Kunze) Hill. She grew up in Rumford but lived briefly in Washington D.C. and Quincy, MA where she graduated from Quincy High School. At Brown University she excelled in English and graduated in 1928. She received her M.A. in English from Brown the next year and later earned her M.S. from the Columbia School of Library Science.
She taught English at North Attleboro (Mass.) High School and St. Dunstan’s Choir School in Providence before deciding on a career in library work. She started out in the Providence library system. In 1937 she married Oscar Hellmut Hartenau of Essen, Germany and relocated to New York City where she worked in the Tremont and Staten Island branches of the New York Public Library before becoming director of the 58th St. branch.
In 1948, Ruth and her husband began raising a family and moved to Larchmont. Her focus became family and organizational work. She served as president of the Mamaroneck Junior High School PTA. The Pembroke Club of Westchester, and the Episcopal Church Women of Westchester and was a board member of the Larchmont and national Camp Fire Girls, Larchmont-Mamaroneck Motion Picture Council, Central School PTA, Brown Alumni Association of Westchester, and the Woman’s Club of Larchmont.
A devout Episcopalian and member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Mamaroneck, she was one of the first female members of the vestry and later served as Senior Warden. She also served as chairman of numerous committees over the years including the library, education, fair, Henrietta Constable, ECW and worship committees. For over 50 years, Ruth greatly enjoyed summers at the family’s vacation home in Charlestown, RI. She also enjoyed travels abroad with her husband and family and was an avid reader and participant in book discussion groups.
She is survived by her son, Christopher Hartenau of Chevy Chase, MD; daughter, Veronica Madigan of Old Greenwich, CT; grandchildren, Christiane, Brandon, and Gregory Madigan and Nicholas and Matthew Hartenau as well as son-in-law, Roger Madigan and daughter-in-law, Vivian Hartenau.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 25th at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Mamaroneck, NY. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Thomas Book of Remembrance.