Private Life Leads to Lasting Legacy of Philanthropy

Photo of elderly woman with white hair and blue sweater and blouse
Ruth Richards

Bethany Village resident Ruth Richards was known for her great sense of humor, mischievous smile, and infectious laugh. But it will be her quiet, humble, inconspicuous giving that will leave a lasting legacy on the community she loved.

“Ruth would secretly do great things and never wanted any recognition,” says JD Shuman, President & CEO of the Asbury Foundation. “She had such a generous heart.”

Sadly, Ruth passed away in May 2022 at the age of 93, but her “generous heart” beats on throughout the Bethany community.

Ruth supported her neighbors in need through Care Assurance (Benevolent Care) Annual and Endowment Funds. She helped associates further their careers by supporting the Bethany Village Nursing Grant program and responded to the nation’s pandemic clarion call by supporting the COVID-19 Associate Fund.

Her gifts are visible at the Richard D. Rife Center, Clyde’s Pub and John & Annie’s Bistro where she requested and funded the installation of the pizza oven with just one caveat: that she be able to sample the first pizza.

Ruth also gave of her time. A voracious reader who enjoyed Amish novels, she volunteered weekly at the campus library, sharing her love of books with residents. She was also a member of the Resident Life Committee.

Ruth grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and went on to spend 38-years in management for Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) before she retired. Her trailblazing career began when just 34 percent of the workforce was female, compared to nearly 48 percent in 2024.

Ruth never married but was devoted to her immediate family. After losing her father at an early age, she went on to become a caregiver for her aging mother and cared for her brother as he battled terminal cancer. Left with no surviving family members, Ruth slowly adopted the Bethany community.

“Bethany Village became her family,” says neighbor Dolores Cloyes. “She was so happy living here.”

Ruth and Dolores met while attending an 8-week, on-campus computer class and discovered they lived on the same floor of the Court apartment building. Intensely private, Ruth rarely invited guests into her apartment, but she and Dolores would sometimes have lunch at one of the campus venues and enjoyed talking on the phone and sharing stories about their childhoods in Mechanicsburg.

“She was a friendly, gentle woman” says Dolores. “And so very interesting.” The two friends grew closer as Ruth began her own health battle several years ago. Dolores would take Ruth to doctors’ appointments and pick up groceries and do other errands for Ruth as she became less and less mobile.

When Ruth’s condition required a move to the health care center, Delores visited often and always called twice a day, sharing conversation about books, their childhoods, and how Ruth loved the seashore and delighted in walking in the sand and seeing her footprints.

Ruth’s footprints are now intrinsic to life at Bethany Village and will be for generations to come. Working with the Foundation’s toolkit of opportunities to give, Ruth created one-time cash gifts, multi-year pledges, an estate note and a bequest in her will.

“She’s still giving,” says JD. “Even in her passing, she’s making a difference.”

If you are interested in learning more about our how you can create a legacy at your community, please reach out to your local Director of Development by phone or email, or complete the “contact us” form on this page.

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