Ruth Buell Schaeffer


As a young woman Ruth demonstrated a passion for academic scholarship graduating summa cum laude from SUNY Albany and then completed the pre-med program at Cornell University. An involved member of the community, Ruth was affiliated with the Rochester Folk Art Guild, was an active member of the Reform Temple of Suffern, and also a La Leche League leader for many years.

A devoted parent, Ruth home-schooled both of her children— Deborah until the 9th grade and Sam until 4th when she discovered Blue Rock School. Ruth’s love for the school was evident in the generosity with which she gave her time, money, educational expertise and graceful leadership. She was invited to join the school’s Board of Trustees, and after one year, earned the position of Chairperson and served for three more years until illness necessitated her resignation.


Sadly, after a long struggle with cancer, Ruth passed away too soon at the age of 50 in 2002 after dedicating many years of her life to the education of children. She was survived by her husband, two children, siblings, and parents, and had requested that donations be made to the school in her memory.  At this time, the school formally dedicated the school’s scholarship fund in Ruth’s name in memory of her love of the school. Her legacy lives on to this day helping to make a Blue Rock education more accessible to those who could not otherwise afford it.

The former Director of Admissions at Blue Rock, Sandra Needham, remembers her colleague Ruth: “I have had some heros in my life [and] Ruth stands with the best of them. When I think of character, integrity and dignity… Ruth embodied those [qualities] in every cell. She breathed a wholeness, a generosity of spirit, and crystalline intelligence. Her knowledge was vast. I never saw pettiness, insecurity or short-sightedness. I am in awe of the inspiration she will always be to me and the amazing privilege to have been her friend.”