In Memory of






Obituary for Ruth Anna Victoria Brown (Magnuson)

Ruth Brown – A Swedish Survivor

Ruth Anna Victoria (Magnuson) Brown was born June 15, 1913, near Pittsburgh, PA, and died at Langdon Place, Nashua, NH, December 5, 2023, aged 110 years, 5 months, and 20 days. She survived the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic, two World Wars and the Great Depression. She was a participant of the New England Supercentenarian Study at Boston University and is believed to have been the oldest person in New Hampshire at her death.

Ruth’s father, Viktor Emanuel Magnuson, immigrated to Pittsburgh from Sweden in 1902 to work in the steel mills, and her mother, Anna Matilda Gustafson, was born in Pittsburgh in 1889 a year after her parents emigrated from Sweden. Ruth’s first language was Swedish, and she was proud of her heritage. She visited Sweden three times (the last time at age 88), and often recited a prayer of grace in Swedish that she learned in her childhood.

Ruth was the oldest of ten children born over a span of thirteen and a half years. She graduated from eighth grade at the top of her class but dropped out of school to help raise her younger siblings. She never attended high school but later earned her GED. She attended business school and subsequently worked as a comptometer (mechanical calculator) operator for several years.

In 1938 Ruth married Robert Homer “Bob” Brown of Swissvale, PA. They did not announce the wedding immediately as her employer did not hire married women. Bob worked as an air traffic controller for the FAA in Pittsburgh. Ruth and Bob had two daughters, Bonnie Lynne and Kristine Roberta, and lived for many years in the Pittsburgh suburbs.

Ruth was ahead of her times when it came to her family’s personal health and living green. Ruth took cod liver oil and Brewer’s Yeast regularly and made her own yogurt. She kept a garden and used table scraps, grass clippings and her own hair clippings for compost. She rarely visited a doctor or used patent medicines and at the age of 110 took little medication.

In 1962 the Pittsburgh Air Traffic Control center was moved to Oberlin, OH, and in 1963 Ruth and Bob moved there. Bob retired from the FAA in 1973 and passed away in 1990 in Oberlin, aged 77. They were active members of the First Church of Oberlin and enjoyed square dancing as members of Oberlin’s “Tappan Squares.” Ruth enjoyed playing bridge, gardening, berry picking, knitting and working at the polls.

Ruth continued to live alone in Oberlin, but with one daughter in Texas and one in Massachusetts this became increasingly more difficult. In 2005 Ruth moved a to warmer climate near her daughter Kristine, her husband, Jerry Massey, and their two children in Hurst, TX. She lived in an independent living facility until Jerry and then Kristine passed away. After Kristine’s death in 2015, Ruth, then nearly 102 years old, moved to Langdon Place in Nashua, NH, to be near her daughter Bonnie and her family.

Ruth is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Bonnie and Robert Oliphant, of Westford, MA, their three sons, Rob (wife Lisa), David (wife Anne-Marie) and Scott (friend Lisa), and by Kristine & Jerry Massey’s two children Eric (wife Romy) and Jennifer Massey. She is also survived by great-grandchildren Robbie (wife Megan), Jamie, Sean, Emma, Erik, Cole, Reid, Ella, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband of 52 years, her younger daughter and son-in-law, her nine siblings and their spouses. Interment will be next to her husband in Westwood Cemetery, Oberlin, Ohio, next spring.

Ruth kept her sense of humor until the very end. When asked “What is your secret for living such a long life?” she replied with a smile, “I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.”

SERVICES: Family and friends are invited to a memorial service for Ruth at the United Methodist Church of Westford, Saturday, Dec.16, 2023; visiting hours are at 10:00 am and memorial service at 11:00 am. Attendees may wear red, Ruth’s favorite color, in her memory. The family thanks the staff at Langdon Place in Nashua, NH, for the wonderful care they gave to Ruth for the past eight years. The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH, handled arrangements. (603)883-3401 “ONE MEMORY LIGHTS ANOTHER.”