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Ruth M. Fish

July 29, 1929 ~ May 23, 2022 (age 92)

Obituary

Ruth Mary Nelson Fish (1929-2022)
Ruth Fish, a resident of Ives Hill Retirement Community died on May 23, 2022 at the age of 92.
Ruth was born on July 29, 1929 to Bertha Wilhelmina Johnson and Carl Albert Nelson, and she is
preceded in death by her parents and by her beloved husband of 58 years, Dr. James Bartlett
Fish, who died in 2009. Ruth and her sister, Betty Jean, were born and raised in Muskegon,
Michigan, where her family was active in the Lutheran Church. She earned a commendation for
perfect Sunday School attendance spanning from kindergarten through her senior year of high
school.
A graduate of Muskegon High School, Ruth was voted “best dressed” by her peers. She
matriculated to The University of Michigan where she served as an officer in the local chapter
of the Chi Omega sorority. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Mathematics
and Education in May of 1951. Soon thereafter, on June 23, 1951, she married her high school
sweetheart, Jim Fish. Ruth was employed as a teacher in the Ann Arbor, MI school system for
several years while her husband completed Medical School, his Surgical Internship, and his
residency in Orthopaedic Surgery, all at The University of Michigan.
In 1961, Ruth and Jim Fish moved their growing family to Watertown, NY, and Dr. Fish became
a founding partner in the North Country Orthopaedic Group. Ruth became active in the Hospital
Auxiliary, P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), and her children’s after-school
activities. In her retirement years, she served as a Deacon in the First Presbyterian Church of
Watertown.
An avid outdoorswoman, Ruth enjoyed skiing, fishing, golf, tennis, and gardening. She loved
card games, especially cribbage and poker; her skill at poker and betting earned her the
endearing nickname “Dirty Ruth” among her friends. In her later years, she rekindled a passion
for Bridge, a game she learned as a child, and became competitive in area tournaments. She
was known for her talents in the kitchen: everything from fancy holiday prime rib and yorkshire
pudding to casual après ski fondue. She was famous for her pies, especially those made with
raspberries or rhubarb from the garden. Throughout her adult life, Ruth played golf and was a
regular participant in the women’s league at Ives Hill Country Club. She enjoyed family
vacations at Little Kildare in the Adirondacks and weekends at their ski chalet in Turin, NY,
where she shared her love of sports and the outdoors with her children and later with her
grandchildren. Ruth initiated several family ski vacations to exciting spots like Aspen, Banff, and
Zermatt. Once their children were grown, Ruth and Jim traveled extensively, both as a couple
and with friends, to places around the world to golf, ski, and explore local cultures.
Ruth Fish is survived by her only sibling, Betty Jean Nelson Bruha of San Diego, CA. She is also
survived by her four children: Dr. John M. Fish of Hickory, NC, daughter Cynthia F. Smith and
her husband James of Dallas, TX, Dr. Daniel N. Fish and his wife Geraldine of Ridgefield, CT, and
Dr. Steven B. Fish and Dr. Claudia B. Fish of Watertown. She was enormously proud of her ten
grandchildren: Emily Smith (Amos), Andrew Smith (Jessica), Ellen Smith, Warren Smith, Isabelle

Rand (Jacob), Pamela Fish, Jennifer Fish, Alexander Fish, Harrison Fish, and Owen Fish. She has
one great-grandson, Cambrian Rex Smith.
The family wishes to thank the kind and steady caregivers from Seniors Helping Seniors who
helped make her final years comfortable and entertaining.
Calling hours will be held at Cleveland Funeral Home, 404 Sherman St, Watertown, NY on
Friday, June 3, 2022 from 6:00- 8:00 pm. A private graveside memorial will be held the
following day. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Northern New York Community
Foundation, 131 Washington St. Watertown, NY 13601 or to the First Presbyterian Church, 403
Washington St., Watertown, NY 13601.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth M. Fish, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Ruth

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Services

Visitation
Friday
June 3, 2022

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Cleveland Funeral Home - Watertown
404 Sherman St.
Watertown, NY 13601

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