Ruth Elizabeth Freeland Rechten, 89, of Middletown, passed away peacefully August 3 at Riverview Medical Hospice Center from complications of Merkel cell cancer.
Born Feb. 27, 1929 to Mary and William Freeland and raised in Jersey City, Ruth graduated from Montclair State Teachers College in December 1950. She married Arthur William Rechten and began her teaching career in Jersey City at Lincoln High School in January 1951. Moving to Middletown with her young family in November 1956 she took a short period off from teaching to begin raising her family.
She started her 30-year teaching career in the Middletown public schools teaching English in Middletown High School. In 1966 she transferred to Bayshore Junior High where she and her best friend and colleague, Barbara Guenther, created and implemented an award-winning team-teaching program in civics and English which challenged many gifted students throughout the years and which many students have stated contributed so much to their educations.
In addition to her teaching duties at Middletown High School and Bayshore, she was the advisor for the school newspapers, The Lions Roar and Shorelines, respectively, and her classes also published many outstanding literary magazines. In 1985, when she returned to Middletown High School North, she was named Governor’s Teacher of the Year.
Ruth retired from Middletown High School North in 1992. However, that retirement was short lived when she became an adjunct professor at Monmouth University, where she compassionately and effectively taught and evaluated student teachers. Remaining on staff until she was almost 81 years old, she finally completed in 2009 an exceptional and lengthy career in education.
Committed to helping others, Ruth touched many lives as Mother Advisor to the local chapter of the Rainbow Girls at the Masonic Lodge in Atlantic Highlands until 1975. A long-term member of the Atlantic Highlands United Methodist Church, Ruth served for many years as outreach chairperson.
Ruth’s home was always open to those who needed a place to stay. She once coordinated 27 French students on an exchange program and holidays always had a new face at the table. In 1981 one very special exchange teacher arrived in America, Lynne Bramwell, and she has become a very special part of the family.
Ruth loved to travel and blessed her family with many trips around the globe. Setting foot on all seven continents, she passed the love of travel to her grandchildren. Each grandchild got to pick where he or she would travel with grandma. She traveled on an eventful trip to Kenya, Egypt and Switzerland with her eldest grandsons Gregory and Matthew. Next, she took Michael skiing in Chile and experienced the wonders of Machu Picchu in Peru; Kati and Susan tagged along to keep grandma company! Her next trip was when she spent two weeks backpacking with Kati through seven European countries in 2009, in Ruth’s backpacking style by that time: five-star resorts! The last trip was with Sarah to New York City experiencing the sights and sounds of the city and attending several exciting Broadway shows. Grandma was not able to travel with Tim, so he’s been blessed with materials needed to help with his art education.
Survivors include her daughters, Susan Day and her husband Greg and their children: Gregory and Ashley Day, Matthew and Tory Day, Michael and Erin Day, Kati Day and her fiancé Joseph Schisselbauer; Robin Taylor and her husband Rob and their children, Sarah and Tim; her son Gary Rechten; and her most beloved four great-grandchildren: Jack, Owen, Alexa and Oliver Day. Gigi loves you!
Ruth will be missed by the many friends she leaves behind all over the world and her second family, the entire Guenther gang!
A memorial gathering will be held Sunday, Sept. 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank. On Monday, September 3, we will gather at Atlantic Highlands Methodist Church, 96 3rd Ave., Atlantic Highlands, at 10:30 a.m.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Merkel cell research.
If you liked this story, you’ll love our newspaper. Click here to subscribe