Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, October 12, 1997, pg. 8

She could eat at Bill Knapps on her birthday, and they would have to pay her to eat. At the age of 101, she deserves it. Recently I had the honor of interviewing one of the oldest persons in Albion, Ruth (Rhodes) Connor, who celebrated her 101st birthday earlier this year. Ruth was born on March 7, 1896 north of Albion, west of Duck Lake on R Drive North. Her parents were William and Leuella Rhodes. The Rhodes family owned a farm on the south side of the road about a mile west of the Nichols School.

After Ruth had attended the Nichols School through the 8th grade, the Rhodes moved to Albion and lived on Maple Street so Ruth could attend Albion High School. Ruth graduated at Albion High School, Class of 1914. Take a look at my book, A History of the Albion Public Schools and you’ll see Ruth pictured on page 196 (bottom photo) as part of a group of class day participants. Some of Ruth’s classmates included Audrey Wilder, George Schumacher, Marian Bedient, Olga McGuire, and others.

Ruth went back and taught at Nichols School for a time, and also taught English and Speech at River Rough High School for a year and a half. She went to Albion College and graduated with the class of 1925. While back in Albion she met Earl Connor (1895-1972), whom she married in 1925. Earl was a city mail carrier from 1928 to 1960.

Earl’s mother May (Rosenbrook) Connor was a charter member of the newly organized Albion Free Methodist Church, which had been holding meetings in the 1920s in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Grand Army of the Republic buildings on E. Erie Street. Ruth and Earl soon began attending and became members themselves. Ruth was active in the Church for many years as a Sunday School teacher and pianist among other things, and even into her ‘90s she could be heard playing the organ at home.

Ruth and Earl purchased a home on Burr Oak Street, where they raised their family of five girls: Luella, Dorothy, Eleanor, Martha, and Kathleen. Recently Dorothy, now of Decatur, Illinois, and her husband Bob Smith paid a visit to see their mother, whom they had the honor of staying with at the Burr Oak Street residence for a week. For the past year Ruth has been lovingly cared for at the Swartout care facility where she has a wonderful view from her bay window.

Her mind is alert, and she is able to get around with the help of a walker. Her Christian faith has sustained her all these years, and she enjoys reading her bible and other Christian literature. Although she hasn’t been able to get to church for some time now, she has many wonderful memories of years gone by. She has also left a legacy at the church as a result of her faithfulness, prayer, and positive attitude.

This week in our Historical Notebook we present a photograph of living history, Ruth Connor, along with her daughter Dorothy and husband Bob Smith. [Internet postscript: Ruth Connor died at the age of 103 on May 29, 1999. She was buried in Riverside Cemetery]

Ruth Connor, with her daughter and husband


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