A Pillar of the Nutley Community
To send flowers in memory of Ruth G. Bedford (Grey), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Ruth G. Bedford, 101 passed away on Monday, August 19, 2019 at her home. Born in Nutley, NJ, Ruth was the daughter of Stephen, a builder, and Bertha (Blum) Grey, a Nutley schoolteacher. Ruth was a lifelong Nutley resident and resided just up the street from the home she was born in over 101 years ago.
After graduating from Nutley High School in 1936, Ruth attended Berkeley School of Secretarial Training and quickly landed at job at the W. T. Grant Company in NYC. Ruth worked there from 1937 until 1992. Ruth served for many years as personal secretary to Mr. Grant, the founder of the company.
The beloved wife of the late Honorable Stanley G. Bedford, she is survived by her nephews, John Burgio and his wife, Sandra and James Burgio and his wife Susan. Along with her parents, Ruth was predeceased by her sister Jane G. Burgio, N.J. Secretary of State in the Kean administration, the first woman serving that position.
Ruth’s grandfather, Abram Blum, was the first mayor of Nutley under the commission form of government in 1912. Also, her uncle, Simon Blum, was a commissioner. Ruth grew up surrounded by a family submersed in Nutley’s social and political life, as did her sister Jane.
Ruth was active in Republican politics much of her adult life. She joined the Essex County Young Republicans in the early 1950s where she met Stanley G. Bedford, president of the organization. Ruth attended the 1954 Republican National Convention as a delegate to support Dwight D. Eisenhower for president. Ruth attributed many of her long friendships through work in county and state Republican organizations.
In 1957 Ruth and Stanley were married and settled in an apartment in Nutley. Ruth had always admired her Aunt Jane’s house on Highfield Lane, a historic 1885 home that had long been popular location in Nutley’s political and social life. In 1967 they purchased the spacious home and its landscaped grounds and continued the family tradition.
During a period of political inactivity from 1972 to 1986, while her husband Stanley served in judgeships, including Superior Court judge in Essex County, Ruth immersed herself in a variety of philanthropic and charitable activities and fundraising. She also served as manager of the Newark branch of the Governor’s ofﬁce during a period of the Kean administration.
For decades Ruth opened her beloved home to benefit many aspects of community life. Events vary from the annual “Lollipop Party” fundraiser for local non-profit organizations, fundraiser cocktail parties for local political candidates, and Nutley Family Service Bureau “September Social” which brings together Nutley elected officials and leaders of religious, civic, charity, and political organizations.
Many organizations sought out Ruth for support and advice, even in her later years. Ruth currently or very recently served on non-profit boards including Nutley Family Service Bureau, where she previously served as Board President was named Lifetime Trustee in 2013, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ, Offender Aid and Restoration of Essex County, and Nutley Parkside Apartments. She proudly supported many local causes including Nutley Volunteer Emergency & Rescue Squad, Nutley Thriving Survivors, Nutley Educational Foundation, and Paper Mill Playhouse where she was the founder of the Rising Star Scholarship recognizing exceptional accomplishments of college theater students.
For over 35 years, Ruth served on the scholarship committee for the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation, to which Ruth’s husband, Stanley, served a chairman of the Board of Trustees and was a member of the associated fraternity.
Together Judge and Mrs. Bedford set the spirit of volunteerism and community awareness has made Nutley so special. The couple was recognized with the Dr. Virginius D. Mattia Distinguished Community Service Award, the Nutley Jaycees Annual Distinguished Service Award for Civic Affairs, and the Montclair-Glen Ridge-Nutley Chapter of the American Red Cross Annual Comradeship Award. Ruth later was honored with the Nutley Educational Foundation Award and Community Excellence Award for Columbus Day Parade. Throughout her long life, Ruth has worked tirelessly to improve life for people in our community.
Ruth deeply believed in community involvement. She encouraged people to ‘be involved’ and to give their time and financial support to charity, civic and political causes. Those wishing to make a memorial gift in Ruth’s memory can honor her legacy by giving your time and financial gifts to causes that are important to you.
There will be a memorial service celebrated on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at Grace Episcopal Church, 200 Highfield Lane in Nutley at 2:30 p.m.