… but one is not supposed to speak ill of the dead.
It is enough that the visitation was on April Fool's Day and that I was not able to attend.
Born on Veteran's Day, she once was on my side. Then, like so many others, I must have done something wrong. She was powerful. She was independent. She was a friend of Kay Barnes and Deb Hermann and many others. Seventy-four is not all that old. Anyway, I hope I am as useful when I'm 64 and beyond, for I did admire her, but I would do things differently if given the chance:
Ruthanne Harper, 74, Kansas City, Mo., passed away Sunday, March 29, 2009.
Visitation will begin with the rosary at 5 p.m. and continue until 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 1, at Passantino Bros. Funeral Home, 2117 Independence Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri (64124).
Family and friends will gather on Thursday morning, April 2, at St. Anthony Catholic Church, 318 Benton Boulevard, where the Mass of Christian burial will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Floral Hills Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to St. Anthony Parish (64124) or Crossroads Hospice (9237 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, MO 64114).
Ruthanne was born November 11, 1934, in Kansas City, Missouri, and spent her entire life in Kansas City. She worked for AT&T during her adult life, rising to the level of district manager before her retirement in 1989. She was a member of St. Anthony's Parish. While her community was always important to Ruthanne, it was following her retirement she was able to devote her energy full-time to civic and charitable affairs. Kansas City was Ruthanne's true love, and she worked tirelessly for her hometown. She volunteered in many capacities, using her remarkable intelligence, insight and imagination for the betterment of our community. Ruthanne formerly lived in a Queen Anne-style house on Gladstone Boulevard, just blocks from her childhood home, and she proudly proclaimed herself an "urbanite."
She served in leadership roles in Old Northeast, Inc., and in the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association. She was instrumental in having Cliff Drive designated a Missouri Scenic Byway and in the restoration and preservation of the historic drive. She was deeply involved in the Kansas City Museum, a Kansas City institution near and dear to her heart. When she relocated to the Northland, that area became an additional beneficiary of her deeply-rooted sense of community and involvement. Ruthanne was also appointed to several terms on the Kansas City Neighborhood and Tourist Development Committee and the Public Improvements Advisory Committee, where she devoted countless hours to serving the city she loved. A founding member of the Kessler Society, she served as secretary for the society and is credited with supervising an extensive historical documentation of the city's boulevards and parks. Ruthanne was also extremely politically active, and many relied on her acute instincts and acumen, seeking her advice on many subjects.
She was a member of the political clubs Forward Kansas City and The Citizens Association, and was very active in both groups. In addition to her devotion to the city she loved and the causes she championed, Ruthanne was a loyal and generous friend to many in Kansas City. Her wit and intelligence were legendary, and her sharp mind and strong opinions were highly prized. Ruthanne valued directness and appreciated it in others. When Ruthanne spoke, people listened, for they knew her words were laden with honesty, sincerity and knowledge, spoken with integrity, and always delivered with the kindest of intentions.
Her love of life was matched by the love she felt for her pets, most recently her beloved dog, Muffin, whom she spoiled shamelessly and from whom she received much joy. Ruthanne was preceded in death by her father and mother, Herbert and Mary (Chennault) Harper. She is survived by siblings Marguerite Manning and James Bond Perleth, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins, and many cherished friends. (Arrangements: Passantino Bros. Funeral Home, 816-471-2844.)