In Memory of





Obituary for Ruth Elinor (Emerson) Duchacek

Ruth Elinor (Emerson) Duchacek, age 102, died peacefully on Saturday, July 11, 2020, at home in So. Burlington, VT, with family at her side. She was born on June 9, 1918 to Walter Davis and Fannie May (Niles) Emerson in Orono, ME where her father was teaching Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maine. Her mother was a wonderful homemaker.

Ruth was a warm, positive, and caring person, with an open and loving heart for the Lord, her family and others, and a boundless wonder for the natural world. She especially enjoyed gardening, feeding and watching the birds, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She was an inspiration to all who knew her, as “Every day is a good day.”

The oldest of four children, Ruth attended schools in Northfield, VT, then graduated from Green Mountain Junior College, Colby College, and as an RN from Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in Boston, MA.
She became Head Nurse on the Communicable Disease Ward at Children’s Hospital until she resigned to marry Howard Duchacek, whom her father had hired to teach at Norwich University. They were married in Silver Spring, MD in 1945, and moved to Burlington, VT, in 1950 where Howard taught Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont (UVM) for 30 years. Howard and Ruth celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1995, the year Howard died.

Ruth was active in local politics, and various organizations including the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Women of UVM and UVM Home Arts; was a volunteer librarian for the Alliance Church in Burlington and a member of the Elijah Paine-Marquis de Lafayette and Green Mountain Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She volunteered with the Visiting Nurse Association in Burlington for some time. A member of the Northfield and Richmond Historical Societies, Ruth was a Docent of the Richmond Round Church for many years. She was a member of the Community Lutheran Church in So. Burlington, VT.

Ruth is predeceased by her husband, Howard, and their firstborn child, Dorothy Ruth; and by her siblings, Dorothy (Emerson) and George England, Robert and Ruth (Silvester) Emerson, William Emerson; and daughter-in-law, Susan (Wisehart) Duchacek.

She is survived by her sister-in-law, Jacqueline (O’Brien) Emerson of Somersworth, NH; and by her three children, Lenora (Clifford) Sagendorf of Portland, OR, Howard Emerson Duchacek of Waterville, VT, and Janet (Fred) Zell of Jericho, VT; and three grandchildren, Tyler Duchacek, Allison Duchacek, and Julia Zell; as well as numerous children and grandchildren of her siblings.

Ruth’s family would like to thank the staff of Allen Harbor in So. Burlington where she resided happily for many years, and of Bayada, who helped her return home after a brief stay at Elderwood at Burlington for rehab.

Memorial services are to be held at a later time at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider giving to Boston Children's Hospital, in memory of Ruth. Contributions may be made at Or by check payable to Boston Children's Hospital, mailed to Boston Children’s Hospital Trust, 401 Park Drive Suite 602, Boston, MA 02215-5301. Please include Ruth’s name in the memo line.

The family also invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting