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Ruth Newquist



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Ruth Newquist of Newtown passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 13, at the age of 92.

Born on May 4, 1931, in Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of Thomas Francis Nolan II and Ruth Kramer Nolan, and was the sister of Thomas Francis Nolan III. She was a resident of Newtown for 55 years.

Ruth earned her BFA from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and attended The Art Students League in New York City. Early in her career, she worked in the Empire State Building and then as a textile designer at R.S. Associates in NYC. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University and became an art teacher at New Fairfield High School.

Teaching art was something Ruth was passionate about. It showed in the extra care she gave her students, helping them prepare portfolios for art school, and in The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN), an organization she and her husband, the late Larry Newquist Sr, founded more than 50 years ago. Over the years, she served in several SCAN positions, including president. It was her idea to begin the iconic afternoon art demonstrations. She consistently brought in talented artists like Frank Federico, Charles Reid, and Robert Cottingham to demonstrate their way of painting. She was very proud of SCAN and the growth she saw in her own work and that of other members.

Ruth began practicing art as a child. She became well-known for her oil and watercolor paintings of rural New England and urban New York City. She loved painting both old barns as a way of preserving their memory, and the vibrant daily life of lower Manhattan, especially SoHo. She was a signature member of National Watercolor Society (NWS), a board member of The Salmagundi Club in NYC, and an elected member of Connecticut Watercolor Society (CWS), North East Watercolor Society (NEWS), North Shore Art Association, Mass., and The Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, NYC. She exhibited her work across New England and New York. And she won dozens of awards, including the highest watercolor award in The Salmagundi Club Annual Membership Exhibition. She was also featured in American Artist magazine in June 1999 and is represented in the prestigious hardcover watercolor books Splash 9 and Splash 12.

Over the years Ruth was very active in Newtown activities, including The League of Women Voters and The Garden Club. In 2015, she was the Grand Marshal of the Newtown Labor Day Parade.

Ruth is survived by her daughter and son, Lynne Pleau and Larry Newquist Jr, and by grandchildren Emma Newquist, Brei Pleau, and Julian Newquist. Her vibrant, creative spirit and the love she had for her family and friends will be missed.

Those who wish to pay their respects to Ruth and her family may do so at Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street in Newtown, on Saturday, January 20, from 1 until 4 pm.

Donations of sympathy may be made in Ruth’s memory to SCAN, PO Box 41, Newtown CT 06470.

The artist in her studio. —Newtown Bee file photo
“Magic of Autumn,” oil, by Ruth Newquist.
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