New Jersey Ag News
Ruth Best, 79, dies
By JANE PRIMERANO
HACKETSTOWN (Feb. 1, 2016) — Warren County is mourning the matriarch of a farm family.
Ruth Best, 79, died on Sunday, Jan. 15, after a long illness.
She was home with her husband of 61 years, Robert, and her children Kim and Bob.
More than 400 visitors flocked to Cochran’s Funeral Home for more than four hours on Jan. 18.
In addition, the Cochran website was full of tributes to her.
Best Fruit Farm and Market, located just west of Hackettstown, is especially known for many varieties of apples.
The market is more than a shop, it’s a meeting place, especially for old timers.
She helped out there for years when she wasn’t taking care of others, her husband said.
“She made a blanket for every baby born in our church,” Bob Best said. “And the kids called her the gum lady because she brought a bag of bubble gum to church every Sunday and after the service the kids crowded around her to get their gum.”
She had also cared for an elderly neighbor for about 10 years, Bob Best said.
Both Bests were active in their community.
Bob is a former mayor and serves on the Indpendence Township Planning Board.
Mrs. Best had served on the township zoning board of adjustment and she was a member of the Central School PTA before the Independence and Liberty township schools districts regionalized into the Great Meadows district.
Bob and Ruth Best were fans of the Hackettstown High School basketball team, he said.
They attended most home games and many away games over the years.
At the Tuesday, Jan. 17, game, the coach gave each player a rose.
They put the roses on the bleachers at the spot where Mrs. Best always sat.
“I got tears in my eyes when I heard that,” Bob Best said. He said he will try to get to one of the last games this season.
Mrs. Best had nothing but praise for the Karen Ann Quinlan Center for Hope hospice which cared for Ruth in her last weeks.
Mrs. Best was born in Lancaster, Pa., but grew up in Hackettstown. She was a daughter of Frederick and Emilie Schwanda Walters.
Bob Best said they dated for three years before they were married
. Besides her husband and children, Mrs. Best is survived by grandchildren Heather, Justin and Rachael and six great-grandchildren.