Ruth Hanford Slaight, 91, died quietly on Aug. 22, 2011, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. 

Ruth Hanford Slaight, 91, died quietly on Aug. 22, 2011, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.  

She was hospitalized late Thursday evening with symptoms of congestive heart failure.

Ruth was married to William J. Slaight, who died earlier this year, for nearly 70 years. They spent 65 of those years on their farm in West Sparta.

Born in Ithaca, on July 21, 1920, Ruth was the only daughter of the late Harold and Ida Townley Hanford.  She graduated as Salutatorian of her Dryden High School class of 1936 and in 1937, she completed a course of study at the Mildred Elley Secretarial School in Albany. She worked as a secretary for two professors at the New York State College of Agriculture at Cornell University from 1937 through 1942. In April, 1946, she moved with her husband, Bill, to the Slaight farm in West Sparta.  

While raising six children, she embarked on a second career.  She was secretary, treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of the Livingston Mutual Insurance Company between 1968 and 2000.  She was elected tax collector for the Town of West Sparta for 34 years between 1966 and 2000.

Her neighbors preferred to pay their taxes in person so they could enjoy her company and conversation.

Ruth’s past activities included participation in Livingston County Older Rural Youth (1947-1955), the Extension Service Home Demonstration Unit (1947-1968), Order of the Amaranth, Patrons of Husbandry (Grange), Livingston County Republican Committee, and Livingston County 4-H as a leader and on its Executive Committee.

More recently she was a member of the Arts Guild and the Oak Lawn Cemetery Association as well as a dedicated member of the choir at the West Sparta United Methodist Church. Once an avid bowler and square dancer Ruth spent the past 15 years creating beautiful quilts and other handicrafts for her children and grandchildren. She was a good neighbor.

Surviving are her children Thomas (Barbara) Slaight of Providence, R.I., Wilma Slaight of Ashland, Mass,, Stella Slaight of Rochester, Anne (Donald) Nowill of Brookline, Mass., Martha Slaight of Westport Point, Mass., and Charlie (Deborah) Slaight of Brentwood, Tenn..;  seven grandchildren John and Jill Slaight, Jeffrey and Gregory Nowill, and Alexandra, Abigail and Thomas Slaight; and many nieces and and nephews; two brothers, Ernest and George Hanford predeceased her. She is survived by her sister-in-law and Matron of Honor, Arlene Hanford; also surviving are a brother-in-law Walter (Jeri) Slaight of Ariz., three sisters-in law Helen Ward of N.J., Elizabeth Steur of Williamsville and Nancy Bell of Delaware.

Friends may call Wednesday (8/24) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the West Sparta United Methodist Church on Redmond Rd., in West Sparta, where a memorial service will follow at 11 a.m.  Interment will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery, West Sparta. Online remembrances may be left at Ref. Hindle Funeral Home, Inc., 271 Main St. Dansville.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the West Sparta United Methodist Church, PO Box 671, Dansville, NY 14437, or the Livingston County 4-H Club, 158 Main St., Mt. Morris, NY 14510.