ST. AUGUSTINE, FL —RuthAnn Baer Upperman Willis passed away at her home in St. Augustine, FL on November 7, 2019. She was born in Fleetwood, PA on May 19, 1940. She was 79 years old.

Ruth’s parents were the late J. Walter and Ruth Baer of Fleetwood. She grew up in this small town outside of Reading, PA in a close-knit community with her sisters, Lillian, Suzanne, and Jean, and her brother Charles. She attended what was then Bloomsburg State College, now Bloomsburg University where she met her future husband and graduated with a degree in elementary education. Following her graduation, she taught in Pennsylvania until she married Ronald Upperman from Hershey, PA. The couple moved to New York, and later, to Harrisburg, PA, and finally, to Maryland, settling in Harford County. Ruth taught elementary school in Harford County for more than 20 years. Along the way, she enjoyed playing both bridge and golf.

Ruth and her husband were the proud parents of two daughters, Wendy and LeeAnn. Both daughters graduated from college, married, and honored their parents with four grandchildren, two boys (Kerry John and Sam) and two girls (Kara and Kelsey) who were adored by their grandparents.

The joy was followed by extended sorrow. Ron Upperman passed away in 1999, the same week that Sam was born. Ruth attempted to console herself with family and golfing buddies in North East, MD. A few years later, Ruth married Donald Willis and moved first to West Virginia and then to Florida. Again, the comfort was interrupted by the deaths of her sister Suzanne Reed and brother Charles Baer. Her sister Lillian had passed earlier. Even though Ruth enjoyed the company of her family and friends, she was devastated by the death of her daughter, Wendy, in 2014, following years of battling breast cancer. Then, in 2018, her second husband, Don, died suddenly.

Shortly after marrying, Ruth and Don bought a camper they parked near Fleetwood where they stayed for many summers. Having the camper facilitated connections to her hometown, her brother and sisters, as well as her daughters and their families, and her “northern” friends. Eventually, trekking back and forth from Florida became a challenge, so they settled year-round in St. Augustine, Florida where she continued to make “golfing buddies.”

Ruth is survived by her sister, Jean Fegley, Ruth’s daughter LeeAnn and her daughters, Kara and Kelsey Nelson, and her son-in-law Kerry O’Donnell and his sons, Kerry John and Sam O’Donnell.

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on December 7th in Fleetwood at the St. Pauls United Church of Christ, 5 West Arch St, Fleetwood, PA 19522. A visitation will be from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at the church. Following the reception, the interment will occur in Hershey, Pennsylvania at the Hershey Cemetery, one mile north of Hershey on Route 743 (Laudermilch Road), Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, Tel: (717) 520-1110.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial donations to The Fair Hill Nature Center in Ruth’s name. or go to the link below.

Online condolence can be made at

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