|SEPTEMBER 22, 2009 --
Virginia "Vee" Carroll Ruwet, wife of 67 years of former state Rep. Joseph N. Ruwet, died Monday at the age of 90.
Ruwet was also the mother of former state Rep. Anne Ruwet, and grandmother of Mayor Ryan Bingham.
She was born on July 13, 1919 to the late Edward F. and Helene (Durand) Carroll.
A lifelong Torrington resident, Ruwet was described by her family as a caring and spirited woman who supported her children and was a positive force in their lives.
In 1937, Ruwet graduated from Torrington High School and was active on the school's reunion committee. She worked at the Torrington Company and Brooker Memorial and for many years was the co-owner and assistant to her husband in the operation of the Ruwet Farm.
She was lifelong communicant of St. Francis Church, was a former Perfect of The Sodality of Mary, and was a member of the Torrington Council of Catholic Women, the Torrington Republican Women's Club, the 6th District Congressional Women's Club, Torrington Women's Club, and the Torcon Women's Club.
Mark J. Ruwet, her oldest son, said he remembers his mother as a very supportive person in his life. She was always energetic and encouraged her children to follow their dreams, Mark said.
"And we in turn, by her example, passed that on to our children," Mark said. "We owe a lot of that to our mother, who was the mainstay of our family."
He noted his mother's involvement in the activities of the Torringford area. Virginia was instrumental in the Torringford Grange, which was a big center of community activities, and where she remained a member for 65 years.
She was also a help on the family's farm with her husband, which was in the Ruwet family since the 1920s, Mark said. Virginia was involved in the business aspects of the operation, he said.
She was also talented on the piano, and encouraged travelling amongst her children, Mark said.
Marie Talbot, one of Virginia's daughters, said her mother used to host exchange students on the farm. Students lived at the Ruwet home through an international farm youth exchange.
"We knew a lot about other cultures because they came and stayed with us for a month or three months," Talbot said.
Some of those students hailed from Switzerland, Argentina and the United Kingdom, she said.
Talbot, like Mark, noted her mother as supportive. Even though she did not have the opportunity to go to college herself, she pushed to have her own children go.
"My mom had a huge collection of college catalogues. She really believe there would be a college match for any of us," Talbot said.
Bingham described her as a "tremendous woman" that he looked up to.
"Many people saw her as a source of strength and wisdom," the mayor said. "She will be truly missed. (She was) one of the greatest."
Besides her husband, Virginia Ruwet is survived by seven children: Mark J. Ruwet and his wife Toni of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Edward "Chub" Ruwet of Auburn, N.Y.; Marie Ruwet Talbot and her husband Michael of Harvard, Mass.; Joel N. Ruwet and his wife Wendy of Palm Desert, Calif.; Jeanne A. Ruwet and her husband Thomas Howard of Torrington; Anne L. Ruwet of Torrington, and Helen Ruwet Bunnell and her husband Rick of Litchfield, 17 grandchildren: Diane Schillawski, Jennifer Matz, Virginia Ruwet Kelly, Melissa Bennett, Kristine Uveges, Jeremiah Ruwet, Dustin Bingham, Amy Talbot, Ryan Bingham, Nicholas Bunnell, Matthew Talbot, Joseph Bunnell, Joshua Ruwet, Sean Ruwet-Howard, Paul Jordan Talbot, Kirby Bunnell and Coleby Bunnell; seven great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and step- grandchildren. She was predeceased by a brother, George "Buddy" Carroll.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis Church, 160 Main Street, Torrington. Burial will follow in St. Peter's Cemetery, Torrington. Friends may call at The Gleeson Mortuary, 258 Prospect Street, Torrington on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m.
A charitable fund is being established in memory of Virginia Carroll Ruwet. Contributions may be made payable to the Virginia Carroll Ruwet Memorial Fund c/o Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, PO Box 1144, 32 City Hall Ave., Torrington, CT 06790.