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This Article Last Updated: Jun 24th, 2014 - 22:22:24
Ruth Thomas Bedford, granddaughter of Edward T. Bedford, a co-founder and director of the Standard Oil Company and daughter of Frederick T. Bedford, died peacefully in her sleep on June 15, 2014, in her home in Greens Farms, Connecticut. Miss Bedford would have celebrated her 100th birthday on August 8, 2014.
|Ruth Bedford |
Miss Bedford was a woman ahead of her time. Like her father and many relatives of the day, she was an avid sailor and pilot; for decades, the family’s seaplanes were a common sight off the local shores. She was also a golfer, tennis player and horse woman. Her race horses, ridden under the Nyala Farm name, won races at Belmont and Saratoga and other eastern tracks.
Her sister, Lucie Bedford, was married to Briggs Cunningham who won the America's Cup in 1958 (Lucie was a member of the support team) and he raced at Le Mans in the 1950s. (The "cunningham" used on the boom is named for him). The couple won numerous sailing championships in Europe. Lucie is the only woman champion of the Star Atlantic Coast Sailing Championship (District 1), winning it in 1928.
Ruth and her father, enthusiastic sailors and residents of Westport, won a silver water pitcher in a one design sailing event. This pitcher had crossed the Atlantic in 1905 when Wilson Marshall's 185' three masted schooner "Atlantic" raced across the ocean with Charlie Barr, a America's Cup skipper, at the helm, setting a trans-Atlantic crossing speed record of 14 days. Among the numerous comforts and appurtenances of gracious living below decks was a sterling silver water pitcher used in the main salon.
|Bedford Pitcher |
They enjoyed owning the pitcher for several years, until, talking with Dick Gordon of the CLIS fleet while Dick was working on his Star boat, Frederick asked if he could do something with the trophy, to make it available to other sailors as well. Dick suggested donating the pitcher to Cedar Point Yacht Club for one design racing, which the Bedfords did in 1949. An elaborate piece of solid silver, it is a meaningful symbol of the way of life of a bygone era as well as one of the Star Class' finest trophies.
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