Obituary: Ruth (Lippmann Bernstein) Bookey Obituary 2024

Ruth (Lippmann Bernstein) Bookey, a Life of Art, Music, and Teaching

Ruth (Lippmann Bernstein) Bookey, a Life of Art, Music, and Teaching

Ruth (Lippmann Bernstein) Bookey, a woman of remarkable creativity and dedication, passed away peacefully in Augusta, Maine, on May 7, 2024, at the age of 93.

Early Life and Education

Ruth was born in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1930. Her childhood was marked by the turmoil of World War II, as her family was forced to flee their beloved European homeland due to the rise of the Nazi regime. She and her younger sister Margrit, along with their mother, lived in Berlin, while their father settled in the United States.

In 1939, the family reunited in Detroit, Michigan. In 1944, they relocated to Bangor, Maine, where Ruth’s father served as a psychiatrist at Bangor State Hospital and, later, at Togus VA Hospital. Ruth’s mother and sister had a passion for art, and Ruth shared their love of painting and drawing.

Ruth attended Bangor High School and went on to study English and Art at the University of Maine at Orono. She had the privilege of learning under the renowned artist, Vincent Hartgen, who greatly influenced her artistic development.

Artistic Pursuits and Musical Endeavors

After graduating from the University of Maine, Ruth pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her artistic talent extended beyond painting, as she also excelled in music. Ruth possessed a magnificent contralto voice and sang as a soloist in numerous concerts and for several churches.

Ruth’s musical interests were diverse, including piano, violin, viola de gamba, and recorder. She attended summer music camp for over two decades, where she honed her skills as a recorder player alongside her future husband, Ted Bookey.

Teaching and Community Involvement

Ruth’s passion for art extended into her professional life. She taught kindergarten for 24 years at West Gardiner Elementary School, inspiring countless young minds with her creativity and warmth.

Together with Ted Bookey, she founded and directed the Senior College Poetry Program for 12 years. This thriving program brought together poets and poetry enthusiasts, igniting a love of words and inspiring numerous students to pursue their own writing.

Beyond her artistic and educational endeavors, Ruth was actively involved in her community. She served on several committees at Granite Hill Estates, the retirement community she and Ted called home. Ruth’s outgoing personality and infectious smile brought joy and camaraderie to the entire community.

Legacy of Love and Creativity

Ruth Bookey’s life was a testament to her love of art, music, and education. She touched countless lives through her artistic creations, her teaching, and her unwavering dedication to her community.

Ruth will be lovingly remembered by her daughter, Nicola Bernstein; her stepdaughter, Eve Highstreet; her extended family; and her many dear friends and former colleagues.

Memorial Service

A memorial service will be held on August 17, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. at Granite Hill Estates in Hallowell, Maine. Those wishing to honor Ruth’s memory may consider making a donation to the Senior College Poetry Program or to the arts organization of their choice.