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Ruth Belchetz

Date of Death: January 6, 2020

Date of Birth: November 14, 1949


Ruth Belchetz, age 70, died peacefully at home in Brunswick, Maine, on Jan 6, 2020 after a long illness.  Daughter of Pearl and Arnold Belchetz, Ruth was born on November 14, 1949 in Larchmont, New York. She lived in the New York area, marrying Peter Dessereau in 1982, and they moved to Brunswick, Maine in 1987 with their dog Queen.

Ruth graduated from Mamaroneck High School in NY in 1966.  Already an accomplished violinist, she went on to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and earned a BA cum laude from Oberlin College in 1970.  In Maine she continued to study violin and played in the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra for 4 years.

Using a method she developed on her own in the late 1970's, Ruth taught English as a Second Language to adults in both NY and Maine over the next 30 years, helping business people prosper, and helping immigrants adapt to their new country.  Many students became lifelong friends. Students from all parts of the world were taught: Japan, China, Philippines, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Russia, India, Nepal, and the Congo in Africa.

Ruth was also a poet.  Her writing appeared in the journals Shore-Lines, Maine Progressive, Room of Our Own, PCPL Advocate and Slipstream. She collaborated with Maine Writers and self-published two collections of her own work, On the Tightrope (1993) and Tears (2002).  Ruth enjoyed reading her work at venues such as the Theater Project and the Gulf of Maine Books, both in Brunswick.

Ruth was active in political campaigns and a passionate advocate for the mentally ill, speaking on their behalf before the Maine legislature. She volunteered with many state and local organizations, among them the National Association for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), hospice, assisted living facilities, and the sheltered workshop Spindleworks.  Ruth was devoted to her cats - Felix, Zeus and Athena - and especially to her dog, Queen, a husky-shepherd who worked alongside her at Spindleworks.

Ruth had a talent for selecting gifts treasured by family and friends. She had sophisticated taste in art and clothing, fine food, and a musicologist's ear for classical music.  In her later years, her music appreciation gave her comfort throughout the health problems. 

Over the years, Ruth and Peter spent much of their free time visiting their favorite local parks and recreation areas, frequently with Queen: Reid State Park, Popham Beach, Wolfe's Neck Woods, and the Shaker Village.  Later on, destinations were Ruth's favorite restaurants, and hair and nail salons.

Ruth's family would like to extend deep appreciation to both CHANS Private Duty Care and CHANS Hospice Care for their home care and love of
Ruth in the most recent and difficult times.

Ruth is survived by her husband of 37 years, Peter Dessereau; sisters Sarah Belchetz-Swenson and Deborah Salzer; and nieces Zoe, Saskia,
Miriam and Rebecca.  Ruth will be remembered at a Celebration of Life, time and place to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, please send gifts to NAMI Maine or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Arrangements are under the care of Funeral Alternatives, 46 Bath Rd. Brunswick, Me Condolences may be expressed at

Funeral Alternatives offers cremation services, burial and funeral services, pre-need packages, and memorial merchandise.

Offices in Lewiston, Brunswick, and Augusta Maine.
Serving Androscoggin County, Cumberland County, Kennebec County, and surrounding areas.

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