1929 – 2015

CENTER BARNSTEAD, N.H. — On Tuesday, May 5, with a smile on her face and peace in her heart, Ruth Esther Hadley Marstaller took firm hold of her Lord’s hand as He guided her into Heaven’s Paradise. Ruth had been residing in Center Barnstead, N.H., in the home she shared with her husband, Bill, daughter and son.

Ruth was born in Fairmount, Ind., to Milton and Freda (Morris) Hadley on April 26, 1929. Since her father was a Friend’s minister, Ruth moved with her family, living in Chicago and Indiana until high school. She attended Olney Friends School in Barnesville, Ohio, making lifelong friends and earning her nickname “Rufus.” She went on to graduate from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., in 1951.

That same year, on Oct. 20, she married William Marstaller in Durham. After a brief time in New Hampshire, they returned to Durham to live and raise their six children.

Ruth taught for three years in Durham before the family relocated to Livermore in 1968. She taught one year in Livermore before finding her “home” in the Canton Elementary and Dirigo middle schools, retiring in 1996 after 27 years. During that time, she served in several capacities in the Local Teachers Association.

Along Ruth’s journey, she received a master’s degree of science in education (1973) from the University of Southern Maine.


Serving God was foremost in Ruth’s life. She was very active in American Baptist Churches. A member of North Livermore Baptist, she participated on boards and committees, sang in the choir and joined the women’s group. She also led workshops and served on committees statewide, serving as president of the ABC Women of Maine, and, from 1984 to 1985, served as the president of the ABC of Maine.

As a member of Toastmasters International, she was active in the Lewiston-Auburn Club, acting as president, area secretary and area governor. She was a licensed lay preacher who promised God she would never refuse an opportunity to speak in a church. She treasured her gift of public speaking.

After spending 12 years in New Port Richey, Fla., Ruth and Bill returned to Maine in 2008 to be closer to family. While away, Ruth continued to be very involved in church, Toastmasters, hospice volunteering and working as an aide in a nursing home. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Brunswick.

Ruth was kind, fair and non-judging, and a good listener, peacemaker, optimist and stabilizing presence to those who knew her. After losing her voice to a stroke in 2007, her smile, almost always present, became even more her ministry. No matter what was going on inside Ruth, her smile communicated acceptance and joy, and that life is special and precious. She was truly a gift from God.

Ruth’s family includes her husband of 63 years, Bill; and children: Norma and Ken of New Hampshire, Jim and Myra of Naples, Jeff and Marianne of North Yarmouth, Jerry and Darlene of Hartford, Mark and Jane of Topsham, and Wayne and Deborah of New Gloucester. Ruth’s grandchildren are Kristen and Ted of Springvale, Jonathan and Danielle of Hawaii, Malia of Massachusetts, Casey and Josh of Wisconsin, Abby and Dustin of Massachusetts, Jenna of Westbrook, Seth and Mallery of South Portland, Daniel and Renee of New Hampshire, as well as Katie, Corey and great-grandson, Bryce, of Pennsylvania; Nicolas of New Gloucester, Leah and great-grandson, Tre’von of Maine; and Rachel, Joseph and great-granddaughter, Meilani, of Vermont.

Ruth is survived by siblings, Clarabel Marstaller of Freeport, Dr. David and Ruth Hadley of Indiana, and Marcus and Margie Hadley of Oregon.

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