Ruby B. Wood, repaired suits for clothing maker

August 31, 1993|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Staff Writer

Ruby B. Wood, who almost magically fixed men's suits damaged in the manufacturing process, died Thursday of a heart attack at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, N.H. She was 80.

Before moving in 1990 to Brookside Nursing Homes in Bradford, Vt., Ms. Wood had lived in Baltimore since the 1930s.

The former Ruby Bayler was a native of Reading, Pa., and was educated in that city's school system.

She worked at L. Grief & Bros., a clothing manufacturer on Homeland Avenue in Govans, from 1939 until her retirement in 1978. Her principal occupation was as a french weaver, who repaired suits without a trace of a mend, thus, saving the company money.

"If one of the cutters would nick a suit, they would take ththread from the cuff of the pants and weave [it] back and forth in the hole to patch it," said her son, Roger Mohn of Bradford.

"It's something you work at for years. They call it french weaving, or invisible weaving.

"It's still done today. If you had a $1,000 suit with a cigarette hole in it, you could fix it."

Mr. Mohn said that his mother's vocation began as an avocation.

"As a girl, she was always into handcrafts," he said. "She later knitted a little Scottie dog and sold it to stores for extra money."

Mr. Mohn said during her years at the retirement home, his mother suffered from arthritis which made the joints of her hands too painful to handle knitting needles.

"Her hands were all crippled with arthritis," he said.

In addition to her membership in the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union of Baltimore, she belonged to the First Christian Church in Baltimore.

She was married for 27 years to Charles Wood, who died in 1979.

She was previously married to Martin Mohn and Harry Patterson. Both those marriages ended in divorce.

Services are to be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to her son, she is survived by a stepdaughter, GloriWood of Montross, Va.; a stepson, Charles Wood Jr. of Lynchburg, Va.; two grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and two-step-great-grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial donations to the ArthritiFoundation, Vermont and Northern New York Chapter, Richardson Place, Burlington, Vt. 05401.

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