Teresa Ruel Obituary – Foster’s Daily Democrat


Teresa Catherine “Kay” (Breen) Ruel of Portsmouth, NH died in Portsmouth Hospital on July 19 at the age of 90. Kay Ruel, a Portsmouth resident for 70 years, was the matriarch of the Ruel family and leaves behind seven children, 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She was the wife of the late Dr. William (“Bill”) A. Ruel, her husband of 62 years. In addition to being a wife and mother, she was a former tennis teaching professional, the owner/manager of Spruce Meadow Tennis Club in Greenland, NH, and the former coach of several champion boys’ and girls’ tennis teams. of State at Portsmouth High School in the 1980s, among many other roles. As well as coaching hundreds of tennis players in the Seacoast area, Kay was active in the communities she lived in, serving for many years on the Portsmouth Hospital board, becoming the first female president of the New England section of the United States. Professional Tennis Association (“USPTA”) and holding numerous volunteer positions with the United States Tennis Association (“USTA”)/New England. In 2006, she was inducted into the New England Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport. RI Kay was a force to be reckoned with, an independent spirit and a strong supporter of women long before it became popular. To say that Kay was a “doer” is an understatement and she instilled this quality in her seven children.

Kay was born in Boston, Massachusetts in January 1932. She grew up in Somerville, MA, the daughter of Maurice Sillery Breen and Catherine Teresa (Crowley) Breen, who emigrated from Saint John, NB, Canada. She was an excellent student and graduated near the top of her class at Somerville High School in 1949. She served as class vice-president, as girls at that time were not considered eligible for first grade. square. Kay attended nursing school at Lawrence Memorial Hospital Medford, MA, where she graduated as a registered nurse. She then went to work at the New England Medical Center in Boston. It was there, at age 21, that she met her future husband, Bill Ruel, a naval officer and dentist, who was the son of one of her patients. On Wednesday in May 1953, the young couple moved to the Portsmouth area where Dr Ruel was stationed as a dentist at the Portsmouth Dockyard in Kittery, Maine. After Bill’s service ended, he established a private dental practice in Portsmouth. Kay became a mother in 1954 and had four daughters and three sons within 11 years, settling on Pleasant Point Drive in Portsmouth and remaining there for four decades. Kay loved babies and young children. Just two weeks before her death, she was delighted to hold her youngest great-grandchild in her arms.

In the early years, the family traveled extensively in the Northeast in their Airstream trailer, seven children in tow, traveling to both the 1964 New York World’s Fairs and Expo ’67 and to destinations ranging from Pennsylvania Netherlands to Prince Edward Island. His children remember his love of board games. She often got “addicted” and begged whoever was there to play her daytime game. Cribbage, backgammon, Boggle, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit have all done the trick. Competitive chess games required absolute silence, which was no mean feat in a house of nine. Kay was also an efficiency expert. She designed systems to organize everything from household chores to sorting, who owned the clean laundry. She cataloged thousands of her recipes on thumb drives and presented one to each offspring. An accomplished and adventurous cook, Kay took pride in whipping up delicious homemade soups, international dishes like shish kebab, sweet and sour pork, and scrumptious desserts ranging from America’s first hobnail cookies, elegant parfaits, and soufflés to her famous sour cream apple pie. .

Ahead of her time in many ways, Kay instilled in her children the importance of education and in her four daughters the idea that they should pursue careers so that they would always be able to support themselves. needs. And she was ready for anything, as her many adult hobbies would later attest – jogging (before it was fashionable), rollerblading and tap dancing lessons (which the grandkids loved it), to name a few.

As a busy wife and mother – at one point with six children under the age of 8 – Kay decided she needed more to do. She was an active volunteer, working at a local blood bank and joining the hospital guild, where she developed and oversaw a multi-week course for expectant parents. She sat on the school boards of some of the various schools her children attended and later became a member of the Portsmouth Hospital Board and served as its Vice-Chair.

In her thirties, Kay decided to “take up” tennis. If Kay was doing something, she was doing it all the way, and tennis was no exception. With her natural ability, she quickly excelled. She was named USPTA New England Pro of the Year in 1978. She was a USTA certified linesman, chair umpire and umpire, working in many professional tournaments throughout the 70s and 80s. In 1972, Kay and Bill built the Spruce Meadow Tennis Club in Greenland, NH, which Kay managed for many years, with many of the children helping out as “employees” including teaching tennis, running programs, stringing and mowing lawns.

She was proud of her work as an assistant referee at the world famous Volvo Men’s International Professional Tournament in North Conway from 1979 to 1982, where Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase, notorious for their bad behavior, quickly realized they weren’t. couldn’t grow around this formidable matriarch. In addition to private lessons and teams, Kay has coached the Portsmouth High School boys and girls varsity tennis teams to numerous state championships. Quite rare as a woman coaching a men’s sports team, Kay’s boys won the state championship two years in a row (1978-79) – the only time to that date that Portsmouth had won the title. She was named NH High School Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1979. Despite her late start, Kay became an accomplished player herself, earning top rankings in New England for more than 50 women’s events. Tennis is a passion she passed on to many of her children and grandchildren.

During their retirement years, Kay and Bill moved to Naples, Florida and were snowbirds until returning full time to NH. Many of his grandchildren have fond memories of visiting Nana and Papa in Naples and playing tennis and swimming in their pool. True to form, Kay was active in the Naples community where she enjoyed playing tennis and Mah Jongg and participated in several book clubs, becoming well known for her elaborate book reviews in the form of lectures. Even after her declining eyesight limited her ability to read, she devoured a large number of non-fiction audiobooks and was always ready to converse on various topics from her extensive reading list.

After Bill passed away in 2015, Kay moved to Wentworth Senior Living in Portsmouth and while there particularly enjoyed the puns and Q&As and conversing with others about the news of the day.

Kay is survived by her 7 children: Susan Ruel of New York, NY, Bill Ruel of Old Lyme CT (and wife Angela); Peter Ruel of North Berwick, ME (and his wife Sue); Joanne (Ruel) Weintraub of Wellesley, MA (and her husband Andrew); Sharon (Ruel) Weston of New Castle, NH (and husband Alan); Brian Ruel of Ann Arbor, MI (and his wife Laurie); and Brenda (Ruel) Sharton of Wayland, MA (and husband Rick). Kay leaves behind 15 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, including Susan’s son, Abdulai Bah (Aissatou and their daughter Habiba); Bill’s sons, Colin Ruel (Nettie and children Razmus and Wyld) and Patrick Ruel (Bea and their children Asa and Nora); Children of Peter Sean Ruel, Kailey Ruel and Aidan Ruel; Joanne’s children Caleb Weintraub (Amber and children Finn and Shae), Noah Weintraub (Brigid and their son Declan) and Eliza Weintraub; Sharon’s children, Brian Weston (Allison and their children Harper and Cameron) and Kathryn Weston Clerici-Hermandinger (and her husband Federico); Brian’s sons, Ian Ruel (and his wife Marian) and Gabe Ruel; and finally, Brenda’s sons, Will and Charlie Sharton. Kay is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Wentworth Senior Living, especially the enrichment staff, and Beacon Hospice. Sincere thanks to Kay’s caretaker, Julie Truman, whose care and companionship were so important to Kay in her final years. The burial will be private. In honor of Kay’s life, the family asks you to perform an act of kindness to someone in need and, in accordance with what Kay would like, for you to call your mother.

For online condolences, visit: www.jvwoodfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are under the direction and care of J. Verne Woof Funeral Home – Buckminster Chapel, 84 Broad Street, Portsmouth.

Posted July 22, 2022

Published in Portsmouth Herald/Foster’s Daily Democrat/Seacoast Sunday, Portsmouth Herald/Foster’s Daily Democrat/Seacoast Sunday


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