Ruth Gladys CroanMarch 6, 1927 ~ December 27, 2017 (age 90)
Ruth Croan of Alexandria, VA, passed away quietly in her sleep on December 27, 2017 at 90 years of age. She died just as she wanted to, at home, surrounded by her family. There were a variety of growing health issues that slowed her down in her last several years and ultimately led to her death.
Ruth, however, remained a vital force in the life of those she touched until the very end. Born on March 6, 1927 to Thomas Berch and Carol Van in Boston, Mass, she grew up in a culture where little girls were to be seen, but not heard, and destined to be housewives and mothers. She embraced those roles at the tender age of 20 after marrying Leonard Croan, who had returned to Boston from WWII to finish his education at MIT. Theirs was a lifelong romance, which never ended for Ruth, even after Leonard died in 1994 from the complications of Type I diabetes—acquired as a result or wartime trauma.
She and Len raised three children, Jerry, Marty and Marcie, who were for many years the focus of their life and love. Marty lived in the same home with Ruth, and took excellent care of her as she became increasingly frail. Marcie, and her husband Tom Desmond and daughter Nicole live in the Boston area, where Ruth grew up. Jerry, and his wife Sandi, who was also very close to Ruth, are in Centreville, VA. Their children, Adam and Tara were with their beloved Nana just before she died. Their children, Amaya and Caleb Musgrove, and Leo and Nico Croan, Ruth’s great-grandchildren, also adored their loving Nana. Ruth remained very close throughout her life with her younger sister Thelma (Temmy) Meyer, of Potomac MD; and the Meyer clan traditionally gathered annually for large holiday dinners with Ruth and the Croan family.
After Len’s death, Ruth found a venue to express her talents. Educated at the Leland Powers School of Communications, she had a lifelong passion for acting and storytelling. She worked briefly at WNAC in Boston as a radio script writer, and was an occasional lead actress in her community’s Little Theater. She began a career as a tour guide with the Washington Guide Service in 1979 at age 52, after briefly serving as a docent at the National Museum of Natural History in DC. In 1985 she became one of the original members of The Guild, the membership organization for licensed professional tour guides; and in the early 1990s, she helped develop the first formal training program for guides. By the time she retired from the Guide Service in 2009 at the age of 82, she had personally trained over 600 new guides. In 1997, she was awarded Guide of the Year. Nearly 100 guides attended her retirement ceremony at the Kennedy Center, and she was elected to emeritus status in recognition of her distinguished service to the Guild.
But above all else, Ruth was beloved for the incredible level of passion and caring that she brought to each endeavor and relationship, the unconditional love and support that she gave so generously to those she held dearest, and the lessons of decency, humility and understanding that exemplified every day of her life. Her spirit will always burn bright in all whose lives she touched.
A memorial service will be held at the Chantilly Country Club on Sunday, January 14th from 1-3 pm, where there will be a short film about her life created by her family and StoryKeep.
The family requests that those wishing to remember Ruth with a gift, make a donation in lieu of flowers to either:
·The American Diabetes Foundation
·Inova Foundation Croan Family Blood Cancer Research Fund
The ACLU Foundation