[Editor’s Note: The following obituary information and a digital guestbook is provided by Hoyt Funeral Home in the New Canaan business’s obituaries section.]
Ruth Mildred Laing Townsend, age 94, a longtime resident of Birmingham, Michigan died Monday morning March 4, 2013 in Waveny Care Center, New Canaan, CT surrounded by her loving sons and family. Born in Redford, MI, April 1, 1918, she was the daughter of the late Lemuel L. and Mildred Curtis Laing. Ruth was the widow of Lynn A. Townsend who died in 2000. Lynn was the former CEO of Chrysler Corporation from 1962 to 1975.
Mrs. Townsend graduated from the University of Michigan and remained a loyal Wolverine all her life. She served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital of Detroit. Ruth was an active member of the UM Alumni Club, AAUW, and Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. Mrs. Townsend was a founding member of the Michigan Opera Theater, working with David DiChiera to establish Detroit’s professional opera company. Ruth and Lynn Townsend were named founding chairmen of Michigan Opera Theater in 1971.
Mrs. Townsend is survived by her three sons; James of Lakewood Ranch, FL, Charles of Farmington Hills, MI, and Richard and his wife, Catherine of New Canaan. One brother, Richard Laing of Linden, MI, eight grandchildren, including Elizabeth DeMuth and Amy Johnson of New Canaan and Anne Skibitcky of New York City as well as 3 great-grandchildren also survive.
In addition to her husband she was predeceased by a sister Dorothy Biddulph.
A Funeral Service and burial will be held in Michigan.
The family wishes to thank the loving care of the Waveny Care Center staff that Mrs. Townsend received over the last 3 years. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Waveny Care Center, 3 Farm Road, New Canaan, CT 06840. or the Ruth L Townsend Endowed Graduate Fund for the School of Education at The University of Michigan, 3003 S. State St, Suite 8000, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (note: fund #572044)