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Official Dedication of Ruth Anne Bleakney Senior Center Brings Out Many

The family of Ruth Anne Bleakney proudly stands before her photo during the official dedication of the Ruth Anne Bleakney Senior Center. From left to right are her husband Kenneth, her daughter Elizabeth, son in law Victor, and granddaughters, Hanna, Mia, and Sophia.

The spirit of Ruth Anne Bleakney was strongly felt by so many on the morning of April 17 when a large gathering of her family, town officials, legislators, and members of the Milford Senior Center community attended the official dedication of the Ruth Anne Bleakney Senior Center.

Since 1988, Bleakney served as Director of the Milford Senior Center where she worked tirelessly as an advocate for the senior population in town. A highlight of her service was helping to bring a new, state of the art Senior Center to the community during her tenure. Sadly, on April 17, 2013, Bleakney passed away from cancer. Not long after that, the Senior Center was renamed in honor of her.

The official dedication ceremony was filled with many heartwarming stories from those who knew and worked with Bleakney over the years; many of those who spoke not only referred to her as a wonderful and dedicated colleague but also a friend.

Senior Center Director Susan Clark read a very touching letter aloud from Milford Selectman Brian Murray, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Murray's letter spoke about Bleakney's love for her family but also her determination to bring the best programs and services to her second family—the Senior Center community. He also wrote of her resolve to help see a new Senior Center come to fruition. "This building is Ruth Anne. Her presence is in every room," said the letter in which Murray stated he first met Bleakney in 1989. "I miss her talks, but mostly I miss my friend."

State Rep. John Fernandes D. Milford, recalled many memories of his time with Bleakney and jokingly noted that any time she called his office, "I knew an 'ask' was coming," he said to a number of laughs. And for all the time she dedicated to the senior community, he also went on to thank the Bleakney family for "sharing her with us."

Executive Director for the Central Mass. Agency on Aging, Dr. Robert Dwyer, recalled it was 10 years ago that the new Milford Senior Center opened up its new doors to the community. "Now we name it for Ruth Anne," he said. "She was singular in all she did and single minded for all the seniors and caregivers in the town of Milford."

Others who spoke included District Director from Senator Richard Moore's office Timothy Harvey, Program Manager for the Council on Aging's Executive Office Emmett Schmarsow, Manager of Special Projects for the Massachusetts Councils on Aging Mary Kay Browne, and Milford Town Administrator Richard Villani.

At the end of the ceremony, Bleakney's husband Kenneth and her daughter Elizabeth hung a photo of their wife and mother and dedication plaque on the wall of the Senior Center which now officially bears her name.


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