Ruth Shapiro


Entered into rest, peacefully, on March 27. Beloved wife of the late Jacob Shapiro, sister of the late Melvin Cohen and mother of five devoted children: Carol Schiller and her husband, Myles, of New City, New York, Deborah Gordon and her husband, Patrick, of Newton, Ellen Shapiro Brown and her husband, Barry, of Boston, Robert Shapiro and his wife, Julie, of Los Angeles and Elizabeth Shapiro of Natick. Grandmother of twelve loving grandchildren: Gabrielle Schiller and his wife, Daniela, of Los Angeles, Benjamin Schiller and his wife, Caryn, of Needham, Jesse Schiller and his wife, Jolie, of Los Angeles and Elysse Schiller of New York; Zachary Gordon of Newton and Abigail Gordon of Newton; Ethan Brown and his wife, Zoe, of San Francisco, Jenny Brown and her husband, David, of Jamaica Plain; Max Shapiro of Los Angeles, Daniel Shapiro and his wife, Ely, of Chicago; Rachel Becker of Chicago and Jacob Becker of Washington, D.C. Great grandmother of the beloved Zayde, Jacob, Eyla, Mason, Arthur, Boden, Jack and Asher – and many nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends.

A remarkable woman who filled each day of her one hundred and one years with caring and compassion, unbounded energy and a commitment to public causes and democratic ideals. Ruth was a woman far ahead of her time.

Ruth never held back from a cause that was right and just, no matter how challenging. When daughters of immigrants rarely attended college, she determinedly worked her way through Boston University and, afterwards, throughout the Second World War at the Boston Army Base and the USO.

Ruth proudly recalled that her first vote was for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and she remained a lifelong active member of the Democratic Party for over seventy years as a ward representative in Newton and active member of the Democratic State Committee. She advanced policies and platforms that read like a record of her time: women’s rights, minority and civil rights, fair labor practices, energy policy and religious freedom.In our age, she would have broken the barrier for women in public office. As a woman of her time, she nevertheless made sure that her voice was heard.

 Ruth’s home was constantly filled with friends, political candidates and people from all walks of life. She was an incredible conversationalist, never shying away from topics or intellectual argument – yet, always respectful to those she engaged. As it was often said, “five minutes with Ruth and she would know your life story”,

Her age never stopped her interest in issues facing our world, in people, her family and in her friends. Up to this moment, she continued her regular attendance at the Boston Ballet, theater and Red Sox games – and she loved a celebration. Ruth’s hundredth birthday was legendary. Steve Grossman, former Massachusetts Treasurer and Chair of the National Democratic Party served as master of ceremonies as Bill and Hillary Clinton, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Congressman Joe Kennedy and the Mayor of Newton Ruthann Fuller congratulated Ruth. The event went far into the night with no one partying harder than Ruth, herself.

We are so grateful to Ruth for all that she brought to our lives. We cherish the memories of knowing her and being with her, of the ideals she fiercely held and of a life well lived.

In light of present limitations on gatherings, funeral services will be private. Her family looks forward to holding an event honoring Ruth as soon as the present health crisis ends, In Ruth’s honor, the family would appreciate donations in her memory to the Ruth Shapiro Fund, Congregation Mishkan Tefila, Brookline, Massachusetts.



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