Oh Crumb, Peg . . .We Miss You
Margaret (Peg) Ruddock died at her home in Indiana, Pa. on Monday, February 1, 2010. These were words no one from the Historical Society wanted to believe. Comments from volunteers, whether in person or by e-mail, reflected disbelief as many had heard from Peg by e-mail the previous day. (She loved to e-mail jokes, articles, and cartoons.) She had been in the Society, working as usual, just a few days before her death. To comment about Peg Ruddock is to travel a path already strewn with kudos and acknowledgements bestowed upon her due to her accomplishments on behalf of the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County. She was a treasured member of the Historical Society and helped so many researchers and volunteers throughout her time both as secretary and as a volunteer. A search of Peg’s personality file revealed the program from her retirement dinner on September 25, 1997 when Peg went from valued employee to treasured volunteer. The Helman Award was given to her that evening, the second person to receive our highest honor. The following comments were compiled by Melissa Lincoln. It says it all.
“Fifteen years ago, the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County was blessed with a woman by the name of Margaret Ruddock. She came to the Historical Society with hopes of compiling a family tree and ended up volunteering her services. Peg eventually became so absorbed with her tasks at the Historical Society that the family tree she had been working on took the back burner. She did eventually accept the job of ‘Secretary’ at the Historical Society. The job was taken under the terms that she could run the Society as she saw fit. She distinctly remembers that other historical societies were not so anxious to help out when visitors came in. This Society was going to be different. Peg vowed to help all those who would research at the Society in the next fifteen years.”
“When you first walked into the Historical Society's door you were greeted by a smile and a request to sign a book on the front desk that supposedly made Peg look good. (None of us had to sign a book to make her look good, she did just fine on her own.) She would proceed in asking for the surnames of the people you were here to research. Peg would pull these cards from the card catalogue and Xerox these off, but not before she gave you a stack of necessary resources for you to complete your mission.”
“Often times, if a person would call the Society before dropping by, Peg would gather all the necessary materials before he/she arrived. Peg recalls a time when a woman flew in from California to research her family. The woman called the Society in advance and Peg was able to collect information for her before her arrival. The visitor was able to come in, research, and leave the same day. Talk about being on top of things! There were also many hours of work and tasks accomplished that the average researcher over looked.”
"Yes, she was good at genealogical research, but she was also a wonderful friend to others who visited frequently. If you happened to be sick or down, Peg would tell you a joke, give you a paper with a funny quote, or even went so far as to make you a card. Always above and beyond the call of duty, Peg was there to make you comfortable during your stay. She has retired from the Society, but many of us will always feel the love and dedication she put into making this Society the best in Western Pennsylvania.”
You may think that after retiring in 1997, Peg would slow down, stay home, and rest on her accomplishments. This did not happen. Peg continued to volunteer, do research, and coordinate many of the files used for historical and family research. She did major work on the Bates Index of Civil War records as well as continuing to give assistance to family history researchers. She also gave assistance and inspiration to volunteers who started after her.