Ruth Gail Ferreira of Tyngsboro, MA

1943 - 2023


March 4, 2023
9-10 A.M.
Dolan Funeral Home


March 4, 2023
10 A.M.
Dolan Funeral Home

Ruth Gail Ferreira, 79, of Tyngsboro, MA passed Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at Lowell General Hospital. Ruth was married for 52 years to the late David Ferreira.

Born in Lowell, Ruth was the daughter of the late Robert Ward and Geraldine (Fontaine) Ward, and was one of 9 children.

She graduated from Keith Hall High School in Lowell with the class of 1961 and continued on to Lowell General Hospital School of Nursing where she graduated with her R.N. in 1964. A dedicated healthcare professional, she worked as a pediatric nurse for over 50 years spending most of her career at Saints Memorial Hospital in Lowell. More recently she worked at St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, NH, where she retired in 2014.

Ruth met her late husband David when they were just teenagers. They fell in love and were married in the summer of 1966 after Ruth graduated from nursing school and David returned from serving in the Army. They had a long relationship filled with love and laughter. Ruth was a wonderful mother to her children Colleen and David, and adoring grandmother to her two grandchildren Hadley and Iain. She loved chatting with friends and family on the phone, and over coffee. She enjoyed playing games, especially Scrabble, dining out, and weekend getaways with nursing friends and her sisters. Ruth loved the beach and spent many summers vacationing with her family on Cape Cod. Mostly, Ruth loved being with people. As a nurse and mother, she dedicated her life to caring for others.

Ruth is survived by her son David Ferreira, his wife Heather and her two grandchildren, Hadley Gail Ferreira and Iain James David Ferreira of Haddam, CT; her daughter Colleen Ferreira of Dracut, MA; her brothers Robert J. Ward and his wife Kathy of Lowell, MA, John Ward and his wife Michelle of Dunstable, MA; her sisters Carole Pritchard and her husband Ray of W. Newbury, MA, Martha Ward of Mason, NH, Mary Cardaci and her husband Paul of Salisbury, MA, Roberta Stradling of Bellows Falls, VT, Colleen Scott and her husband Donald of Nashua, NH, and Jerilyn King and her husband Joseph of Norwood, MA


Visiting hours from 9-10am Saturday, March 4, 2023 followed by funeral service at 10am at DOLAN FUNERAL HOME, 106 MIDDLESEX STREET, N. CHELMSFORD, MA. ARRANGEMENTS BY DOLAN FUNERAL HOME 978-251-4041. Guestbook at

5 Condolences for Ruth Gail Ferreira of Tyngsboro, MA

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    Elizabeth A Rawnsley


    My love and prayers are with you, David, and Colleen. I know that Vovo and Pa are watching over you and they always loved you more than you may have ever known. I witnessed that love and it is so special. It is one of my treasured memories. I lived so close to my grandparents and I watched how they cared for all of us and how they loved all of us. Treasure those memories always and know that we may not see one another often, but know that we all care about you.We are all saddened by the loss of your mom. God Bless, Betty Ann

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    E R Gomes


    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all in this time of sorrow. Colleen and David, you were the sparkle in your Mom’s eyes and smile. You and your Dad and her grandchildren were the loves of her life. She was a great lady and she will be missed. You’ve shared so many wonderful and happy family moments and memories. Hold those wonderful memories close to your heart until the time you meet again. Please know that you are in our thoughts and in our heart. With our sympathies and God bless.

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    Julie Ryan


    Thinking of you, sending my love and prayers during this very sorrowful time. Colleen and David, your Mom was such a nice lady with the greatest smile and laugh. Her family filled her heart and life with overwhelming joy. May all the wonderful memories and good times fill the void you may feel in your heart at this time, and know that she will always be with you.
    God Bless ?

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    David Ferreira


    For My Mom

    Most knew my mother as Ruth, Ruthie, Rudy, Ruth Gail or Grammy. To me she was my mom and I loved her. Any way you knew her, you knew she was one of a kind. She was fun. She was funny. She had spirit.

    She lived for the time she spent with friends and family. She was a loving wife and mother and she treated people with kindness. She was generous and cared deeply for her family, always putting their needs first.

    My mother loved people and had a very curious nature. She needed to know everything going on with everyone. Sometimes I’d see her and she’d catch me up on family news. Who had a new love interest, where people were and what they where doing for work, things like that. She had an incredible memory for detail and was a better source for information than any form of social media. My mother loved to talk, but was also an attentive listener. She just loved conversation. If someone was willing, and there was coffee, she was up for a chat. She had an honest way of asking questions without seeming too invasive. She would have made a great detective because she had an almost supernatural ability to make anyone confess.

    She also bore a heavy burden…the burden of always being right, and never, ever, being wrong. Even if you produced the a body, showed her the DNA and went strait to the source, the best you could hope for get was “Well, we’ll have to check on that.” This was of course…maddening. My father had some real patience for this. He seemed to accept it as a sort of temporary insanity that was just part of the deal that came with my mom. You can imagine that this was also tough for me, because I too am never wrong, and always right. Maybe some of you also know what that’s like.

    My mother loved and protected her family fiercely. She loved me, my sister and adored my father. My parents were an amazing fit. They seemed to complement each other perfectly. I grew up understanding that partners needed to be friends, to have fun together, not be afraid to disagree, and to talk. There was so much talking in my household the back and forth became a sort of white noise. But what I mostly learned from my parents was the importance of patience, understanding and friendship in a relationship.

    My mother was, and always will be my number one advocate. She supported me in the pursuit of my dreams. When I was a kid she fostered my creativity by praising my many drawings and by bringing me paper and pens from work. I still have a soft spot for these four color pens that nurses used to use.

    I was nothing special though, not many of us are. I was a terrible student, but instead of just accepting that, she challenged me and my teachers. I was reminded of this, this past week while going through some things. Looking at my report cards the teachers would make a notes like “David is not applying himself.” At the time there was a spot for parents to respond with a note. My mother would almost always request a meeting. I remember some of these meetings with teachers. I’d be sitting in the the hallway listening while waiting. They had no idea what they were in for should they utter a disparaging word about her precious son. She was not a timid person by any means. I witnessed her take many a teacher, nun and doctor to task advocating for her family.

    My mother later spearheaded an effort to cure me of my academic indifference. She was observant noticed I wanted things.
    I wanted video games, cds, cool sneakers and skateboards. When all else failed to help motivate me to get my grades up, she resorted to good old fashioned bribery. I got 50 bucks for an A and 25 for a B. I was an overnight success. She agreed to the same deal a second time but she was too clever and alas, I never got paid. She knew me well. She could see I liked the praise that came with success.

    My mom was an encouraging force in my life. She always wanted to see those she loved. (She even tried her had at matchmaking from time to time with some success.) When I was a teenager I remember hearing early threats of digging ditches for kids like me. I might have been destined for some kind of hard labor without her intervention. When I showed interest in going to school to study art, she was the one that helped me make that a reality. She working closely with my art teacher and together they enrolled me in Saturday classes at the Museum school in Boston. Without those classes I would not have had a portfolio for art school applications.

    My mother cared for people her whole life. She did this at home looking after my grandparents, my sister, my father and me. She dedicated her life to caring for my sister and advocating for her. A role I now do my best to fill. My mother loved children, and being a mother was one of the things she wanted most in life. In the time since I’ve been a father, she would reminded me to savor the time with my kids while they are young, remarking that for her, this was the best time of her life and it went by too fast. She wasn’t wrong.

    My mother was always there for me and my family with that kind of unwavering support that only a mother can give. I know it’s a mothers job to tell you you’re amazing. My mom would take it to another level. She would tell anyone that would listen how great I was. When she would come to my art exhibits she’d stroll around boisterously declaring “Your’s are the best.” she’d grab my dads arm, lean in close and say “Aren’t Dave’s the best ones?“ everyone could hear this. Most of the artists, some of them my friends, would be standing near their work, listening, laughing and enjoying this.

    She loved children so much that she worked as pediatric nurse caring for them. She said they were often nicer, and more appreciative patients than adults. She spent so much of her life caring for others that unfortunately she never really invested in caring for herself. I think she was okay with that reality in the end. With her own mother still alive at 100, my mothers health problems were beginning to catch up with her. She confessed to me that she was hoping genetics might get her into her 90s. She was practical about it all. And when her cancer got to a point of no return she simply stated “ Dave, I think your mother is done for.” I think it’s tough to be ill and be a nurse. To have the curtain pulled back and to know the reality of things is hard. My mother handled her last chapter as good as I can imagine anyone would.

    If our lives worth is measured by the ones that feel our loss, then my mother Ruth lived a life of great value. Her friends and and family will tell her story in more ways than they realize. I see her spirit in
    myself and my children. We all have some of her mannerisms, her sense of humor, her love of fun and for family, her passion for food and even just a little bit of her stubbornness. All of those parts of her have been passed down through our family and may still be there generations from now. The memories and impressions we leave on those left here when we go matter. I think my mother Ruth left quite an impression on everyone she knew. I believe she will be remembered with fondness and love. She had a way with people and I can safely say, she would never be viewed as boring. As time marches on when people recall my mother I think it will be because of something funny she did, or said or a time she made someone smile or laugh. Feelings of happiness and laughter aren’t common or easy things to manifest in people. These are the things that make us forget the inevitable and embrace the present.

    I’d like to thank everyone that came here today to remember my mother. And to thank all of you for being part of her life. Thank you to all of you that helped care for her in the time since my father passed. She loved you all. To everyone that filled her final days with stories and companionship, you are all very much loved and appreciated.

    Lastly, to all any of you that still have your mother around. I know it’s not always easy, but make the time to call her. Because one day you will wish you could.

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    Betty Ann Rawnsley


    David and Colleen: Some of us could not attend the service for your mom because of the weather conditions. I hope you understand and know that we were and continue to pray for you during these very difficult days and time frames. She must have felt so much love reading such kind and loving words. Love to you and Colleen, Betty Ann

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