Let the memory of Ruth be with us forever.
  • 73 years old
  • Born on May 28, 1946 in New York, New York, United States.
  • Passed away on June 15, 2019 in Spring Hill, Florida, United States.
Saturday, June 15, 2019, at 9:15 AM, Ruth Anita Madsen met the Ferryman, escorted by a Choir of angels and scores of loved ones, she left her weary body at rest. Her spirit now moves into her next adventure.

We will mourn her absence, and celebrate her life.

Hail our beloved traveler!!!!
Ruth Anita Madsen was the only daughter of Willy and Ruth Madsen, who preceded her in death.  She was survived by the light of her life, her son, Robert, his wife Q and her grandchildren, Cody and Megan.  She is also survived by her best friend and heart sister, Lynne Lutz, and through her a god-daughter, Jackie (John) Palmer, and her children, Thomas (Victoria) Lutz, Melissa Corteseli, Jessica (Taylor) Evans (and their four children), and Anthony Corteseli.

Mama Ruth has always been committed to helping people, sometimes to her own detriment, but the thing she did best of all was love.

Everyone who came in contact with her simply loved her and knew instinctively that they were loved in return. This has been reflected in her life’s work as a nurse. She served people in many capacities as a float nurse. She gave so much of her big heart as a Pediatric Nurse, even attending the funerals of small patients, wrapping their parents up in love as only she could. Eventually, she became an OB nurse and was able to continue reveling in the small miracles that came into the world. She loved helping new families grow.

Sadly, she didn’t think she would ever be a mom. She watched as her life long, best friend, Lynne became a mom, as her patients became mothers, but somehow it always seemed out of reach for her.

She’d fallen in love during the Vietnam era, he gave her a ring and promised to come home and build a family. Instead, he started a new family without her. She was left to wonder for years if he had died and if she had missed her chance to experience motherhood. His ring sits in her jewelry box even now.

There were other relationships, but none that wanted a family, and that is what she wanted most of all.

In 1982 she found herself in a position that initially was the cause of judgment, but her absolute joy at what was about to happen won over the skeptics. March 16, 1983, she worked and went to her OB checkup. The baby she’d longed for was in distress. An Emergency C-Section was ordered. She shared with me how they put her under and began the delivery, but the friend who held her hand could feel her steely grasp, and it wasn’t until that baby took his first breath and cried that she gave in fully to the anesthesia.

As thrilled as she was, she had NO idea that the little boy that she’d longed for all her life was going to bring so many more children to her.

Their home was a hub of activity. Robert’s friends called her mom, and her home was a safe place. A haven. Every child she took under her roof went under her wings and right into her heart, as well. She was simply, Mom. Just like she’d always wanted to be.

Here, in Florida, her home was once again, a hub of activity as The Palooza crew began to form.

In 2011 she did not hesitate to welcome more to her family. She opened her heart and home to me and my two kids. Now, she wasn’t just mom. She was a grandma. And she loved it. She loved telling people about the two teenagers that she loved with her whole heart. She was a sounding board, a beacon of security with no judgment. She gave us the love and stability we needed to begin healing our own hurts. She is the one that handed Robert her mother’s engagement ring and said, “don’t let her get away.”

She valiantly fought Colon Cancer and came out of surgery determined to fight and win. And win she did.

Her health though, never fully recovered, as new health issues would come up, she would cry her frustration, broaden her shoulders and step into battle again and again. Every battle she seemed to lose a little of herself. Last year she saw the foreclosure of the home she’d had built in 2007.

She took a great deal of delight when Q and her oldest began to reconcile, and she discovered she was a great grandma. There was no hesitation. As usual, there was just love.

April 4, she went in for routine pacemaker placement. She never came home to us. April 23, in renal failure, she was moved to a long term care facility, where she stabilized and we had hope that the future would mean she’d be home with us. Not long ago she was moved to a closer, more focused facility with the intent of getting her strength back and getting her on her feet. May 30, just two days after her 73rd birthday she was taken to the ER with suspected pneumonia. Instead, she had 1000ml of fluid around her heart. She was admitted to ICU again. After a procedure to remove the fluid around her heart on May 31, we played Nahko and sang for her and even with a breathing tube she tapped her fingers and wiggled her toes to the music. That weekend, her best friend and her goddaughter came to visit, and she brightened. We were able to talk, to plan for margaritas and a cruise in the future. Having her best friend here allowed her to step out of mom mode, and just accept the comfort of her sister and she had a good cry. Sadly, things just kept sliding away after their visit. We had somewhat gotten used to the constant roller coaster ride of her health, but it became clear how very tired she is.

Just as she always tried to do right by those she loved, we now followed her example and begin the process of letting go.  She moved into Hospice House on June 11th, and began to receive comfort care to ease her transition.  We were there with her and for her as she was always there for us.

We are all so grateful to have known such love. Q will miss their morning coffee and singing in the kitchen. We will miss holiday baking, and singing songs in the car during road trips.  But mostly, we will miss her constant love.

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