Cover photo for Ruth Matteson Girlando's Obituary
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1938 Ruth Matteson Girlando 2023

Ruth Matteson Girlando

August 3, 1938 — October 6, 2023

Columbus, Ohio


Ruth M. Girlando

COLUMBUS, Ohio---Ruth Ann Girlando (née Matteson) passed peacefully at Kobacker House on October 6. She was born to Anabelle and Horace Newton (“Newt”) Matteson of Long Island, New York, in 1938, the summer of the Great New England Hurricane, later known as the Long Island Express. Ruth attended Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, graduating in 1960. In 1962, she moved to Columbus and worked as a medical secretary, retiring in 1990.

In her work as a medical secretary, Ruth met many wonderful doctors, nurses, and support staff, and remained friends with many of them to the end. The Milhon Ladies were a very special group to Ruth. They met for lunch at least once a month, and there were bridge games, as well.

Ruth loved slot machines and gambling casinos – land-locked, on river boats – in Vegas, in the Ohio River – and at the new Hollywood Casino. She and her neighbor, Georgia Stanton (1925-2020) enjoyed trips to Scioto Downs and Hollywood. Ruth and her husband, Al, loved to go to Las Vegas, The Riverboat, and always stopped at Wheeling on the way to and from Greenbriar. The last couple years, after Ruth stopped driving, she and her daughter-in-law made the trip to Hollywood Casino nearly every other Friday. Ruth’s daughter, Beth, recently discovered that Ruth kept a “casino box.”

Ruth and Al loved to travel. One of their favorite trips was getting Al to Washington, D.C. (he had never been there!) to see the World War II Memorial. They were flown there and treated like VIPs at The Madison Hotel, thanks to Rusty and Kirsten. Ruth and Al also traveled frequently with Greg and Joyce.

Ruth was very artistic and loved to paint. Family moved her art table and supplies up to the spare bedroom after her doctors told her no more stairs to the basement. After she broke her shoulder, she stopped painting, but still made creative modifications to wrapping on her presents to family.

Having grown up as an only child, Ruth embraced Al’s family, and enjoyed having a large extended family. As her mobility issues deteriorated, it hurt her to have to stay home from family gatherings.

She adopted her neighbors on Desantis in Clintonville. Her garage was the command post for the neighborhood Halloween party, as well as the factory and storage area for luminaries almost every single neighbor on the street put out at Christmas.

Ruth is preceded in death by her husband, Alfred J. Girlando, and step-children, Joyce L. (Greg) Gassin and Michael J. Girlando. She is survived by son, William “Rusty” (Kirsten Dell) Bell, Jr., and Beth Bell (Walter) Domoracki; step-children, Brian (Erin) Gassin, Jennifer (Jan Wilkerson) Flanagan, and Kenneth (Bekah) Gassin; and step-grandchildren, Vincent Girlando, Jacob Flanagan, Paxton Flanagan, Cameron Gassin, and Madison Strane.

Family will receive visitors from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Ruth’s life at 5:00 p.m., on Sunday, October 22, 2023, at J. Liu’s, 6880 North High Street, Worthington. Friends are encouraged to attend and share stories about Ruth, if they wish. Ruth’s ashes will be interred at Maple Grove Cemetery in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania on November 4.

Ruth was generous to her favorite charities. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of Ruth’s preferred charities: Charity Newsies, 4300 Indianola Avenue, Columbus, Ohio, 43214; the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 401 W Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, Virginia, 23185; Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, 711 East Livingston Avenue, Columbus Ohio, 43205; or Hospice at Riverside/Kobacker House, 800 McConnell Drive, Columbus, Ohio, 43214.

Ruth’s family entrusted her care and cremation arrangements to Kevin J. Dusenbury, funeral director/owner of the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home, Shinglehouse, Pa.

To express condolences, light a candle or share a fond memory of Ruth, please visit or the Virgil L. Howard Funeral Home Facebook page.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth Matteson Girlando, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, October 22, 2023

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

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