Salute to Fellow Nonagenarians: Ruth and Charles Grannick

In 2018, The Foundation celebrated its 90th anniversary, we were honored to be in the company of these amazing 90(plus)-year-old donors: Ruth and Charles Grannick.

Honored to be in the company of these amazing 90(plus)-year-old donors

Ruth and Charles Grannick. Photo Courtesy of Ruth Grannick

"He was a good son and a good brother. He was everything good." So says 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 though her New York days are in the past, Ruth's fashion sense and style are always evident. Her clothes and jewelry are exquisite and her apartment is beautifully decorated with art, antiques and a collection of ceramic turtles she and Charles collected since they lived in "Turtle Bay" in Branford. Ruth, who now lives at Evergreen Woods in Branford, remains a fountain of knowledge about New Haven and its people. She especially reminisces about her home on Orange Street of which she "remembers every blade of grass around the stairs up to the house." And she remarks about her full life with many friends and her family. "We had a simple, but good life."

This story is part of our series: 90 Years of Being There "From the Start."