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Park Bench Memorial Dedicated In Bi-Centennial Grove
Bench pix
Members of the Ethier family try out the newly-dedicated park bench at the Bi-Centennial Grove in Jacob Myers Park on Saturday, April 14. The designation of the bench commemorates the years of service of Ruth Ethier, family matriarch. Among other recognition, she was the last remaining charter member of the Riverbank Federated Womens Club, founded more than 50 years ago. Ric McGinnis/The News

On a warm spring day in Jacob Myers Park, a small group from the local women’s club members gathered with members of the Henri and Ruth Ethier family to mark a special dedication in the Bi-Centennial Grove there.

Several generations of family were on hand this past Saturday, April 14 to attend the Riverbank Federated Women’s Club recognition ceremony for matriarch Ruth Ethier. Club representative Marilyn McRitchie noted the marking of a special bench on the east edge of the grove. The club added a plaque recognizing Ethier’s community service and her half-century as a charter member of the club.

“She was a member for the first 50 years of our club and was honored at a Riverbank City Council meeting in February, 2017 with a proclamation of the club’s 50th Anniversary,” McRitchie said. “Today, we remember the gifts she gave us, that of being a good friend, always willing to help others, cheerful at all times, a true role model for our club members and all who had the pleasure to know Ruth.”

Club officials said the bench dedication was a celebration of Ethier’s community spirit.

“We hope all who spend quiet time in this memorial grove will be influenced in some way by our tribute to a lovely lady who meant so much to her family and friends,” McRitchie concluded.

Ruth Ethier was born in February, 1923 and was raised in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. After marrying her high school sweetheart, Henri (Hank) Ethier, they moved to California in 1950 and bought a house in Riverbank in 1955. She passed away on Sept. 11, 2017, at the age of 94.

She had seven children, 15 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren, some of whom still live in the area.