Faith Cushing Ryder


Faith Cushing Ryder (born Stetson) passed away on the afternoon of May 11, 2021, exactly one week after her 89th birthday, at her home in Lancaster, N.H.

Faith was born in Middleborough to George Ward and Doris Kinsman Stetson, and raised on a raspberry farm with her brother George. Faith had an idyllic childhood, spending many happy days not only at their farm, but at her beloved Nana and Pa Kinsman’s dairy farm as well. She was incredibly well-loved by her family and community alike, spreading kindness, her clever wit, and infectious smile everywhere she went.

Faith’s father spent many years in Boston, serving as a state representative in Beacon Hill. Though starting college at Endicott in Beverly Farms, Faith’s connection to Boston continued as she ventured to Gordon College, which at the time was in Fenway. At Gordon, she not only earned a degree but also found the love of her life. Harry Ryder swept her off her feet, and from that point forward, she never left his side. A loyal companion, yes, but more than that, a partner and co-pilot for a life so filled with adventure a Hollywood producer might say it wasn’t believable. Beyond the stories, though, what always mattered the most, until the very end, was family. Incredibly nurturing and patient, Faith was born for motherhood. Her selflessness and strong, steady presence provided the foundation for a life that revolved around family — traits that persisted long past her days as a newfound mother.

When Harry and Faith moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the driving force was to provide a space for the family to congregate, and their goal was achieved. The large farmhouse they moved into was reminiscent of home for Faith, and their contentment there compelled their extended family to migrate North as they had. While she loved her time as a teacher in both Middleborough and Martha’s Vineyard, that paled in comparison to the opportunity to become an active and vital part of her grandchildren’s lives. Faith still utilized her training in childhood education as she co-taught the grandkids in their elementary years, but more than that, she was a role model and friend, always the best of sports, dedicated entirely to ensuring her grandchildren were safe and happy.

Fittingly, Faith’s faith was the North Star of her entire journey, and was something that she relied on until her time on earth came to an end. In the five years since Harry passed away, Faith exhibited the strength and independence she had had all along, but rarely needed. Losing a soulmate creates a void that is never filled, but Faith’s warmth, dry sense of humor, and generosity endured.

As her grandson Heath said at her passing, “Beyond the games and the tasks and the cooking and the stories and the laughing and the lessons and everything that came along with growing up as their grandchild, what it really boils down to is unconditional love and support in action. Many people are lucky enough to have grandparents who love them unconditionally, but far fewer are those who truly know it and can feel it because at every critical moment in your life, they were there to tell you. Again, and again and again. And I am forever grateful that we had that.”

Faith is survived by her daughter Beth, her son Scott, her in-laws Mark and Debbie, and her grandchildren Heath, Eli, Aly, and Lindsey. She will be forever missed. The family will be holding a private celebration of Faith’s life, so in lieu of flowers or condolences, please tell your family that you love them, and give your mother a hug.


  1. Dear family of Faith Cushing Stetson Ryder,

    I send you my condolences at the death of this lovely member of your family.

    I’ve known Faith since I was a young girl, and she just 12 years older, as my parents and hers were good friends. In fact, my father (born 1910) and her uncle, George Kinsman, were childhood pals growing up in the Middleboro area. So our families have known each other for more than 100 years.

    The last direct contact I had with Faith was just after her father died, but as I grew up on the Vineyard where Faith and Harry lived for many years, I got news of them from time to time from my mother who taught at the same school as Harry

    Faith’s father was very important to me. I called him Uncle Ward, and his companionship taught me a lot about what to look for in a husband. I also adored how beautiful Aunt Doris was, especially her hair, and I loved the way she called him “Stetsie”.

    Faith’s death just this month is poignant for me as it means I still could have had some contact with her had I realized the opportunity. I very much regret that this did not happen.

    I send you my warmest caring as you deal with this deep loss.

    Patty Howell

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