Ruth & Charles Grannick Jr. Fund

Est. 2001 by Ruth B. Grannick

Ruth and Charles Grannick. Photo Courtesy of Ruth Grannick

Note: This story first appeared in 2018 as part of The Foundation's 90th anniversary story series: "90 Years of Being There From the Start." It was later updated after Ruth Grannick's passing in 2022.

"He was a good son and a good brother. He was everything good." So said Ruth Grannick about her late brother, Charles. Charles and Ruth attended New Haven's Worthington Hooker School and walked or took the trolley to Hillhouse High School, which in the 1930s was located across from Yale's Payne Whitney Gym. Both served in the military in World War II, Charles in the Army Transportation Corps in California, and Ruth as a Navy "Wave," first in Oklahoma and then in Washington, D.C., where she decoded messages from ships in the South Pacific. While in the Navy, Ruth first taught swimming and tennis, hobbies she enjoyed well into her retired years.

After the service, a friend who worked at the G. Fox Department Store convinced Ruth to join the bridal department. After five years working at G. Fox as a buyer and bridal consultant, Ruth went to New York City to work at Bonwit Teller as a bridal buyer. Ruth then worked in a merchandising office which served as a liaison between manufacturers and department and specialty stores – including the national store Nordstrom's – and local stores like Hamilton's in New Haven.

Charles stayed closer to home. He attended the University of Connecticut and the Junior College of Commerce (now Quinnipiac University) where he studied accounting. First he worked for the Metropolitan Life insurance Company, but then joined the jewelry business. He bought the Bernard Oppenheimer Company, formerly S. Silverthau & Sons which he ran for 20 years. Later he was the diamond department manager for Michael's Jewelers on Chapel Street in New Haven. During his working life in New Haven, Charles took care of his parents until his mother's death in 1981 at age 97. Ruth came home from New York almost every weekend to help with her parents and be with her brother as well as many extended family members.

In their retirements, Ruth and Charles shared a home until Charles' death at age 78 in 1995. They enjoyed a retirement full of travel and service to local organizations. Ruth was Chair of the Associates Board of the Yale Art Gallery and is proud of the lecture series the Associates sponsored. Charles was on many Boards and supported local organizations including the New Haven Preservation Trust, New Haven Historical Society, the Better Business Bureau, Yale Art Gallery and the Jewish Historical Society.

Even when her New York days were long in the past, Ruth's fashion sense and style remained evident. Her clothes and jewelry were exquisite and her apartment was beautifully decorated with art, antiques and a collection of ceramic turtles she and Charles collected when they lived in Branford's "Turtle Bay." Ruth, who later moved to Evergreen Woods in Branford, remained a fountain of knowledge about New Haven and its people. "We had a simple, but good life," she said, reflecting on her full life with family and many friends.

Through her later years, Ruth reminisced fondly about her childhood home on Orange Street, of which she remembered "every blade of grass around the stairs up to the house." To keep images of those days closeby, Ruth commissioned a painting of East Rock by Hamden artist Hilda Putziger Levy in 1980, so that she and Charles could always remember the view from that Orange Street home after they moved out.

As a member of the Nettie J. Dayton Circle, Ruth chose to leave a legacy by including The Community Foundation in her estate plans, ensuring our region would have the resources needed to remain a vibrant, socially and culturally enriched place to live and work for years to come.

Upon her passing in November 2022, Ruth also wanted The Community Foundation to have the beloved painting she commissioned from Levy. Today, visitors to The Foundation office's Nettie J. Dayton Conference Room on Audubon Street can view Levy's lovely watercolor of East Rock, a popular local park and hiking destination — allowing all to share a glimpse of its natural beauty and of the view that was so dear to Ruth's heart.

Read more stories from our series: 90 Years of Being There "From the Start."

Ruth Grannick commissioned this painting of East Rock (detail) by artist Hilda Putziger Levy in 1980, so that she and her brother Charles could always remember the view from their Orange Street home after they moved out. The painting was a gift to The Foundation from Ruth upon her passing in 2022.

About the Artist: Hilda Putziger Levy

Born in Syracuse, N.Y., artist Hilda Putziger Levy (1907-1982) lived in Hamden, Conn., for many years and left an indelible mark on the Greater New Haven arts community.

She was active in groups including Creative Arts Workshop, where she taught, and where the Hilda P. Levy Memorial Scholarship was established in her honor; and the New Haven Paint & Clay Club, which awards the Hilda P. Levy Watercolor Prize in tribute to her talents. She received awards from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and the Connecticut Watercolor Society (where she was a charter member).

While best remembered for her watercolor and fine art skills, Levy is also known for her magnificently detailed Victorian-era Doll House, currently on display in the New Haven Museum, complete with 482 antique objects and decorated with tiny original paintings — including a miniature painting of East Rock.

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Ruth & Charles Grannick Jr. Fund