Ruth “Butsy” Dwyer Arrigo passed away, age 90 on July 29 in Hammond, LA. A child of the Jazz Age, she was born in 1929 in the New Orleans Carrollton neighborhood who married a big band sax player named Joseph Arrigo. Preceded in death by her parents, Estelle and “Jockey” Dwyer; Joseph A. Arrigo, her beloved musician/artist husband of 51 years; and sister Myrtle Icaman of Los Angeles. She is survived by a sister Betty Cates of Los Angeles; four children, Melodie Matyas (Bill), Joseph I. Arrigo, (Karen), Jan Arrigo Eichhorn, (Bryan), Julie Menasco (David); three grandchildren: James Frey, Chloe and Hannah Arrigo and seven nephews.
An award-winning painter, craftsperson, hat-maker, floral designer, knitter and gardener, her scrapbook is filled with blue ribbons. Ruth received an award from famed artist and bestselling author of “Life With Picasso,” Francoise Gilot, exhibiting with her at the Gallier Hall France-Louisiana Festival show in 1975. Ruth was a member of the New Orleans Art Association, Le Petit Art Guild, and the Louisiana Watercolor Society. She completed a certificate in Watercolors at Delgado College. Ruth and Joe were active in the Gallery D’or on Royal Street and exhibited in several local galleries and curated exhibitions. She was Corresponding Secretary of Les Belles Fleurs Garden Club and in later years she was active in the Whitney Heights Garden Club and the Travel Agents of Greater New Orleans. Until retiring, she worked as a professional re-weaver, intricately joining wool threads to mend suits for dry cleaning clients city-wide.
Her life with Joe was filled with cruises and road trips with family and friends who adored her outspoken humor and sense of fun. She especially enjoyed trips to New York and California, where entertainment business-employed relatives provided a back stage look at how shows are produced. She loved to share amusing celebrity stories upon return.
She was a fashion-savvy clotheshorse with a laser-like ability to spot a sale. She taught her kids colloquial expressions from her French speaking mother and she could detect a phony a mile away. Ruth Arrigo has books dedicated to her.
At local charity events she was notorious for her luck in winning donated items from the “parade of prizes.” An avowed gourmet, Ruth was very picky about her oysters but never met a lobster she didn’t like. For years she enjoyed birthday celebrations at Commander’s Palace where she was serenaded by the house band with her favorite requested tune “Satin Doll.”
The family thanks the loving care givers at Sunrise of Metairie, Summerfield in Hammond and New Century Hospice. Funeral arrangements were private.
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