Rev. Ruth Cail Williamson

January 13, 1930 ~ November 6, 2022 (age 92) 92 Years Old


Reverend Ruth Cail Williamson of Portland, Maine, passed away peacefully on November 6, 2022. She was born on January 13, 1930 in Portland, Maine. She was ninety-two-years-old.

Ruth was predeceased by her parents, Thomas E. and Etta M. Cail, and her sisters, Winnifred Leighton and Barbara Mills. She is survived by her three children; Rebecca Watson, Skip Williamson (Kelley), and Claudia Williamson (Brian Robinson). Ruth is also survived by her eight grandchildren; Jessica, Amanda, Riley, Bryant, Erin, Haley, Eliza, and Tanner. And her three great-grandchildren, MaryRuth, William, and Henry. She is survived by a special grandniece, Daleleen Leighton, with whom she shared a birthday. She had a large extended family, whom she loved.

As a child, Ruth wanted to grow up to be a missionary, but her high school year book said she wanted to be a decorator. She worked as a buyer in the department store Porteous, Mitchell and Braun in Portland, and for an insurance company.

After having three children, Ruth felt a calling to become a Christian Education Director. Not exactly a missionary, but she felt this was a good opportunity to help people. So, she enrolled in Bangor Theological Seminary and was accepted. She lived in campus housing as she attended classes, studied, worked part-time jobs at Robert E. Hall clothing store and Jordan’s Hot Dog Factory, all while raising three children. She graduated in 1969 and accepted her first job at Wesley United Methodist Church.

Ruth worked for seven years in the church when she felt a calling to do more. She decided to become a minister, and started her journey again with eight years of schooling, where she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Divinity, as well as ministered for two small churches. She served as Local Pastor, then Deacon, and then finally, she was ordained as an Elder. She served churches in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Ruth performed baptisms, weddings, and funerals for anyone who asked. She never turned anyone away, even if they didn’t attend church. She felt if she did this for them, they may come to church in the future. She counseled people, volunteered at the church camp, Wanakee, and served on many committees with the Methodist Conference. She was also on various church committees and volunteered for committees in her local community.

Ruth loved to travel. She traveled for pleasure, but also for missionary work. She finally was fulfilling her life-long dream. She traveled to Nicaragua to volunteer with the La Igesia de Christo, which the Methodist Conference had a covenant relationship. She drove to Alaska with a friend and their dog in a camper on a pick-up truck. They traveled across Canada, and when they reached their destination, they volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. Ruth then rode home across the country on a bus.

Ruth also had strong values and beliefs, and would stand up for them. She participated in protests in Bangor, Maine and Washington D.C. She took training on how to protest peacefully, as that was important to her. She had many adventures; traveling to Germany, England, Egypt, Israel, Switzerland, Disney Land, Lake Placid, and many more.

After a long career, Ruth was able to retire by the ocean, which was also a life-long dream. She built a small home on Peaks Island, Maine and filled her time with island life. She immediately became involved with the Methodist church there, volunteering for the church fair, teaching Sunday school, and was on many committees. She helped the minister and would sometimes preach. Her work was never done.

Ruth loved the island. It saddened her to have to leave, but it was too difficult for her to stay. She felt fortunate when she got to move to Park Danforth in Portland, where her lifetime best friend also lived. They had been friends since they were six-years-old. It was great for them to be together again and spend time with other friends from school who also lived there.

Of course, it didn’t take long for Ruth to get involved with committees, as well as take classes and make new friends. One thing she did not like to do was cook meals. At Park Danforth, she didn’t have to worry about that as they prepared dinner every night for the residents. How wonderful is that?

When the pandemic hit, things changed for Ruth. She fell and broke her hip, which she had to have surgery to repair. She made a full recovery in rehabilitation, but she was not well enough to return home to Park Danforth. After being diagnosed with Lewy body Dementia, she moved in to the Cedars Nursing Home in Portland, where she remained for the rest of her life. She continued to be on committees, for as long as she was able, and enjoyed the programs offered, such as trips, concerts, the Portland Riders, and ordering dinner out.

As the disease continued to progress, things became harder for Ruth. But the one thing she did right to the end, was play Bingo. She was always winning, and she won a lot of Beanie Babies, which she would give to her family for Christmas. It pleased her that she could still get some things for them for the holiday.

Ruth had a long, fulfilling life, and touched so many people. The family has received many messages from family and friends, and the words they have used to describe Ruth are kind, gentle, and loving, forgiving and a good listener. No one will ever truly know how many lives Ruth touched in this world, but as she begins this new journey, there is no doubt she will continue to do the same.

A celebration of life will be held at HopeGateWay Church, Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 1:00 PM. 

HopeGateWay Worship is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Ruth Williamson Celebration of Life

Time: Nov 12, 2022 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 892 5916 3587



In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ruth’s honor to:

New Brackett Church

9 Church Ave

Peaks Island, ME 04108


Directions to the service are listed below.

Directions for HopeGateWay's Underground Parking


• Driving North on Forest Avenue, toward Woodfords Corner, drive (slowly) past

HopeGateWay (509 Forest).


• The very next unit is Casco Bay Movers / Portland Ballet dance studio. Immediately after

that unit, you will turn right, into an alley that ramps downward to a garage door.


• (If you're coming South on Forest Ave, the alley / ramp would be on your left, just after a

bodybuilding supplements store, before Casco Bay Movers / Portland Ballet.)


• As you approach the garage door, you will see a keypad on your left.


• Use the code 1101* (asterisk), and the door will open.


• Park in any of the spaces that say MMC or Maine Medical Center. Follow the signs that

say "Elevator" toward the front (Forest Ave side) of the building, and take the elevator

or stairs to the first floor. (There is an elevator in the center of the parking garage that's

not in service, and sometimes this confuses people - you don't want that one.)


• Exiting the elevator on the first floor (street level), walk through the double doors, and

you will see the entrance to HopeGateWay on your right.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rev. Ruth Cail Williamson, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Rev. Ruth Cail Williamson

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