Tiiu Booth, 95, of Newport passed away Tuesday June 9, 2020, at her home. She was born to Aleksander and Maria Riis on January 14, 1925 in Parnu, Estonia. Her siblings Lydia, and Yuri, both of whom predeceased her. After graduating high school, she fled with her family to Germany during the Soviet invasion of her homeland. She immigrated to America and earned her B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University in 1954.
She was married to Donald Booth on June 21, 1952. They lived in Ithaca NY and New Haven CT before settling permanently in Donald’s hometown of Newport in 1959. Tiiu is survived by her daughter Tiina of Amherst MA and her son Mark of Buffalo NY, as well as her grandchildren Emmett, Dylan and Sophia, and Mark’s wife Laura. She also leaves many nieces and nephews in Newport and around the country. Tiiu was predeceased by her husband in 2009, and her son Eric in 1966.
Tiiu’s love of her homeland was fierce. She loved to wear blue, black and white, the colors of the Estonian flag. Every Olympics she would watch the Parade of Nations, hoping to catch a glimpse of her flag and Estonian athletes. Fluent in 4 languages, Tiiu would always remind her family that she could only count and pray in Estonian. Her trips back to Estonia to visit her home and family were joyous.
Tiiu was a member of the parish at Emmanuel Church for over 50 years, where she served her fellow parishioners in many ways, including beautification of the grounds, serving on the Vestry, and helping establish a pre-school in the church.
For many years, she served as President of the Women’s Auxiliary at Newport Hospital, earning the Rhode Island Hospital Volunteer of the Year honors.
Tiiu and Donald took great delight in hosting family gatherings. She was devoted to the Red Sox, to her grandchildren, her dogs, her garden, and to experiencing all the natural beauty that Newport has to offer. After Donald retired in 1984, they went out to breakfast 6 days per week, most often at Handy’s Lunch on Thames Street. The family would particularly like to thank Melanie Hill who served as Tiiu’s companion and caretaker for many years. Tiiu’s wonderful nursing assistants also provided outstanding care throughout the last year.
To the end of her days, going out to breakfast and driving the Ocean Drive was one of her great pleasures. She passed this appreciation of nature and animals down to her children and grandchildren.
Burial will be private due to Covid restrictions. The family hopes to celebrate her life once it is safe for everyone to gather. Donations in her name can be made to the Potter League for Animals at Potterleague.org or a charity of your choice.