VOORHEESVILLE — A spiritual woman with a passion for family, art, gardening, and community, Ruth Mesick died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2013, surrounded by family and under the care of nuns at the Teresian House in Albany. She was 97.
She was born on Dec. 9, 1915 in Milwaukee, Wisc. and moved to the Voorheesville area shortly after graduating from high school.
Mrs. Mesick had operated businesses in Voorheesville and Altamont and was a well-known member of the Voorheesville First United Methodist Church. She would routinely stroll the villages and many in the villages will simply remember her as Grandma Ruth or by her nickname, Grandma Moses.
“She was a cool grandma," said her granddaughter Mrs. Sandy Smith.
“What made her cool is that you could talk to her about anything, any life problem, she would not judge you,” said Mrs. Smith. “There are some things you just don’t talk to your grandparents about, but you could talk to her about it. It’s like she had experienced it all.”
Mrs. Smith wrote a letter to her grandmother as part of a school literary project, were she thanked her for all she had done for the family. She would eventually read the letter at Mrs. Mesick’s 90th birthday celebration.
Part of it says; “When Mom and Dad went their separate ways, you kept us together. When my teenage years sent me in every direction but yours, your door was always open; you knew I would find my way back to you.”
She also wrote, “Mom was taken away from us way too early in life. You have been there to help ease the pain, you have listened to the cries, and you prayed for all of us. Not a week has gone by over the years that you haven’t listened to me cry, complain, or laugh about how raising three boys on my own is putting me on the edge of sanity. How you do it, I’ll never know, but thank you for keeping me sane.”
During the 1970s, Mrs. Mesick opened a department store in the village of Voorheesville. She ran it for 10 years before relocating it to the village of Altamont were it remained open for another decade. She and her husband of 50 years, the late William Mesick, also operated a liquor store in Altamont.
At the stores, Mrs. Mesick was able to showcase one of her favorite hobbies, crafting miniature dollhouses.
When she was 8 years old, Mrs. Smith built her first dollhouse with her grandmother.
“She built my first one out of orange crates. She put them together and made a living room, dining room, bedroom, and kitchen,” Mrs. Smith said. “We would make furniture together. We would take a cigarette box, cover it with a piece of material, and put one side of cut marbles at the end for pillows.”
Some of the dollhouses Mrs. Mesick created were crafted with delicate detail and even had electrical wiring.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Mesick would share her hobby with children in her family, even passing the skill on to a grandson. Mrs. Smith said she still enjoys creating the miniatures.
Another creative hobby Mrs. Mesick enjoyed was oil painting. She would often create works featuring rural landscapes and her family said she adored the Heldebergs in particular. She created more than a hundred paintings in her lifetime.
During her final years, Mrs. Mesick continued to paint but was forced to take up watercolors instead of oil because of health concerns relating to the chemicals used in the medium.
Mrs. Mesick sold some of her paintings but more often gave them away to close friends and family. Both her paintings and dollhouses have been featured in several different exhibits, including shows at the Altamont and Voorheesville libraries.
Her granddaughter said Mrs. Mesick had a gift for gardening and immensely enjoyed the beauty of nature.
“She had a knack for taking a dying plant and bringing it back to life,” said Mrs. Smith. “She took a Christmas poinsettia from someone at the Teresian House and nurtured it back to health — keeping it in her closet over the next three months. You never would have recognized it as the same plant. She was incredible.”
Mrs. Mesick was a member of the Adirondack Mountain Club and participated in hikes all across the country, even traveling overseas on a few occasions to hike mountains in Europe.
She was a member of the Emmaus community and also a sponsor for “the walk to Emmaus,” said her granddaughter. The walk is a four-day gathering of Christians, who spend the days in intense prayer and worship.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Mesick would encourage friends and family to embrace the Christian faith. Many would accompany her to church on holidays or for special events.
Her granddaughter said she would often say, “God will take care.”
“She was treasured by so many in the Voorheesville Methodist Church and community,” said Mrs. Smith.
Other groups Mrs. Mesick belonged to included the Gourmet Food Club, the American Legion, the New Scotland Senior Group and the New Scotland Historical Society.
A repeated cancer survivor, Mrs. Mesick overcame previous diagnoses of mouth, stomach, and throat cancers.
“She was one of those people that, no matter what she was doing, she’d drop it to help you,” said Mrs. Smith.
“You know how, when you tell someone, ‘’I love you,’ they almost always reply the same way back? When you said ‘I love you’ to her she would say, ‘Thank you.’ I asked her one day, ‘Why do you do that?’ She said, ‘It’s because it means a lot to me,” said her granddaughter. “That something that’s always stayed with me.”
Mrs. Smith is survived by her four children; Pamela Longway, William Mesick, David Mesick, and Richard Mesick. She is also survived by her grandchildren: Jackie Smith; Sandy Smith, and her husband, Eric; Scott Longway; Chad Longway, and his wife Maureen; Josh Taylor; Rachel Taylor.; her great grandchildren, Jimmy Stealey; Travis Stealy; Kevin I. Smith; Jennifer Smith; Lelia Smith; Nathan Longway and Riley Longway.
Her husband, William Mesick, died before her.
A memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday Oct. 19, at the Voorheesville First United Methodist Church at 68 Maple Ave. in Voorheesville Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.
— Tyler Murphy