Ruth Thomas Bedford, 99, Westport Philanthropist

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Ruth Thomas Bedford
Ruth Thomas Bedford Photo Credit: Spear Miller Funeral Home

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Ruth Thomas Bedford, 99, died Sunday, June 15, in her home in the Greens Farms neighborhood of Westport.

Bedford was the daughter of Frederick T. and Lucie Thomas Bedford. She was the last the surviving grandchild of Westport philanthropist Edward T. Bedford, founder of the Westport Weston Family Y.

She would have celebrated her 100th birthday on Aug. 8, 2014.

Bedford attended Foxcroft School in Virginia and worked in social services after graduating. She served with the American Red Cross in the European theater during World War II.

She also had a great interest in the New York theater and worked for Rodgers and Hammerstein as a stage manager on several Broadway shows.

Bedford was a licensed sea plane pilot as well as an accomplished sailor, golfer, tennis player and horsewoman. Upon returning to Connecticut, Bedford volunteered at the Norwalk Hospital for over 50 years.

She made a difference in many people's lives by following her father's and grandfather's example by supporting many organizations and charities. The Town of Westport and the Norwalk Hospital as well as many other charities and individuals have been the beneficiary of her generosity. 

Her race horses, ridden under the Nyala Farm name, won races at Belmont and Saratoga and other East Coast tracks. 

Bedford is survived by her niece, Cythlen Maddox; nephews, James McCashin, Fred McCashin, Bruce McCashin and Briggs Cunningham III; cousin, Helen Watkins; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.

She was predeceased by her sisters, Lucie Bedford Cunningham Warren, Helen Bedford McCashin and Mary Bedford; niece, Lucie Cunningham McKinney; and nephew, John McCashin.

At her request, services will be private.

Contributions in her memory may be made to the Aspetuck Land Trust, P.O. Box 444, Westport, CT 06881; Norwalk Hospital Foundation, 34 Maple St., Norwalk, CT 06856; or the Westport Weston Family Y, 59 Post Road E., Westport, CT 06880.

To sign an online guest book, visit www.spearmillerfuneralhome.com.

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