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Ruth Thone

Former first lady Ruth Thone listens intently as testifiers tell a legislative committee they are opposed to the death penalty during a February 1989 hearing.

Journal Star file photo

I enjoyed Cindy Lange-Kubick’s column ("Losing one of Nebraska’s finest," May 6) about our beloved Ruth “Ruthie” Raymond Thone.

I came to know this gracious former first lady through her writings and my attempts. She and Charley lived close by us in south Lincoln, and, about two years ago, I started bringing them a care box, as he was tethered to the living room by 20 feet of an oxygen line.

I would bring fresh fruit, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies and bottles of lemonade and orange juice.

The front door was always thrown wide open, a caretaker nearby, and I would leave the box (and my latest poem) on the couch. I would then visit Charley and always his question: “And how is your newsman father-in-law, Gil Savery?” Ruthie was usually sleeping then, but she always sent me a thank-you email the next day.

I once told Charley I couldn’t believe my exchanges with a former Nebraska governor and first lady — two of Nebraska’s treasures. His reply: “Nancy, we all put on our pants one leg at a time!”

After he had passed, I waited about three weeks and called Ruthie, to bring a last care box, since she was now able to drive freely and without obligation. I went over that evening — just three or four weeks ago — and she came to the front door.

She seemed OK, as Cindy remarked. She sighed heavily and said “I’m having a time establishing a new schedule."

And that was the last time I saw this simple, genuine, kind, loving woman.

I know Charley is playing golf in heaven and that Ruthie is looking down, pausing in her reading and writing, urging us to write, champion causes and be kind to each other. Our time on Earth is so short.

Nancy Gergen Savery, Lincoln


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