Ruth (Mustard) Hare

MOUNT DESERT —Ruth (Mustard) Hare, 85, a woman with boundless energy, strong but informed opinions and a generous heart, died Jan.25, 2014, at her Hall Quarry home, surrounded by family and her cherished cats.

She was born in Toronto, Canada, the daughter of United Church of Canada minister William Mustard and his wife Jean (Calder).

As much as Ruth loved and admired her father, she swore she would never marry a minister as she felt her feisty, somewhat rebellious nature would not be suited to the role of the quiet, docile minister’s wife.

In her sophomore year at the University of Toronto, fate played something of a trick on Ruth. At a college dance, she double dated with a girlfriend whose escort for the evening was Douglas Hare, a fellow student Ruth already knew well from church. About halfway through the evening, it was clear the foursome was mismatched and adjustments were made. “For the second half of the evening I danced only with Ruth,” Doug recalls. “I fell in love with her at 19.” Even knowing that Doug planned to enter the ministry, Ruth was also smitten, and before the year was out they were engaged.

It was a two-year engagement, as Doug was determined to graduate before marrying. He graduated June 8, 1951. They were married that same afternoon.

In 1954, the couple moved to New York where Doug pursued his doctoral studies and served as a pastor for several churches. Ruth worked at a day care center, and other jobs to help support them. In the summer of 1957, they camped for the first time at Blackwoods in Acadia National Park. They returned every summer until 1993 when they completed their own home here just in time for Doug’s retirement.

When her husband earned a position at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Ruth was sorry to leave NYC, where they had enjoyed going to the beach and to the theater, opera and concerts when they could find cheap tickets.

She never did take a shine to Pittsburgh, but at least as the wife of a professor instead of a local pastor she didn’t have parishioners complaining about her wearing shorts!

In 1971, Doug won a grant to study abroad for a semester and chose Heidelberg, Germany. By this time the couple had two daughters who made the trip with them. The Hares fell in love with the city and the people — particularly the Bamberger family, who became lifelong friends, whom the Hares frequently visited in Heidelberg, including this past autumn.

Despite being the daughter and wife of ministers, Ruth never took her faith for granted, questioning basic Christian tenets and how they could be applied to today’s world and to her personally. She was a liberal and a Democrat and didn’t care who knew it.

When the couple retired to the cozy log home they built in Hall Quarry they became actively involved in the Islesford Congregational Church, which they served for 16 years as minister and church musician. Later they joined the Somesville Union Meeting House.

To help earn their travel money, Ruth kept the books for a number of small businesses on MDI, retiring for good at age 83.

Ruth and Doug have been active grandparents to their five grandchildren. A bridge night once a week was also a top priority.

Last year Ruth was diagnosed with lung cancer. An operation gave her another good year before it returned this winter.

Ruth was able to spend her final moments in the home she loved, with the people she loved and the sound of purring cats nearby.

In addition to her husband; Ruth is survived by her daughters, Jennifer Shaw and her husband, Burr, of Tremont; Laurie Kreitzer and her husband, Peter, of Maryland; their five grandchildren, Kohl, Herbert, Claire, Dora and Helen.

A service will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at the Somesville Union Meeting House. Friends who wish may donate in Ruth’s memory to the Angell Animal Medical Center, 350 S. Huntingdon Ave., Boston, MA 02130, or Defenders of Wildlife, P.O. Box 1553, Merrifield, VA 22116.

Know when to pay your respects.