Ruth Ekberg

Ruth (May) Ekberg, 99, of Woodstock, Vt., passed away Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at Mertens House.

Ruth was born in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 7, 1922, daughter of Russell Hayden and Ethel (Randall) May. Her father died in 1927, and the family moved to Brattleboro to live with her grandfather, Ovando Randall. She attended Brattleboro schools, then graduated from Northfield-Mt Hermon in 1940 and Westbrook College in 1942. During World War II, she served in the U.S. Navy as a WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from 1944 to 1946. She attended Boot Camp at Hunter College in New York City, and Hospital Corps School at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md.. The remainder of her Navy career was spent at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital.

After leaving the Navy she stayed on in New York City working as a medical secretary until her return to Brattleboro. She married Oscar W. Ekberg of Westmoreland in 1962. She managed Oscar’s business of selling and servicing pianos until his retirement. Ruth was a vital participant in the small town of Westmoreland. She was secretary to the select board for many years as well as a member of the Ladies Aid Society, the historical society, public library board and the Westmoreland United Church.

Her husband passed away in 1989, and in 1992 she moved to Woodstock, Vt., to be near her daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Lantz Cook. During her years in Woodstock she volunteered at the Thompson Senior Center, the Woodstock History Center and the Green Mountain Perkins Academy, where her grandfather attended school. Ruth’s devotion to her time in the Navy continued throughout her life. She was a member of the Green Mountain Girls, the Vermont Unit #113 of WAVES National, and attended the dedication of the Military Women’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1997.

She is survived by her daughter, Martha, and son-in-law, Lantz, as well as two nephews and a niece. She was predeceased by one brother, E. Randall Haviland. There will be no service at Ruth’s request. She will be interred at Meeting House Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro. Contributions may be made in Ruth’s memory to the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society ( or the Thompson Senior Center (

An online guestbook can be found at