Hi Lady Lee,
The Mary Rutherford obituary that appeared in the February 1963 Boonville Advertiser is not a phoney, however, it was supplied to the paper's editor by a JW which explains some of the embellishements. It is interesting that the Watch Tower book Jehovah's Witnesses--Proclaimers of God's Kingdom claims to quote from an obituary that appeared in a Monrovia newspaper. The quote appears at the bottom of page 89 as a footnote: "Sister Rutherford died December 17, 1962, at the age of 93. Notice of her death, appearing in the Monrovia, California Daily News--Post, stated: 'Until poor health confined her to her home, she took an active part in the ministerial work of Jehovah's Witnesses.'"
Please note that the Watch Tower attributes the above quote to the Monrovia Daily News--Post. But this is not correct as only two notices appeared in the Daily News, December 18, 1962 and December 19, 1962. The December 18 notice said: "RUTHERFORD--MARY M., of 159 Stedman Place, passed away Monday evening at a local sanitarium. She is survived by a son, Malcolm C., of Monrovia. Services will be announced by Temple & LaGorge Mortuary."
The December 19 notice states: "RUTHERFORD, MARY M.--Monrovia resident for twenty-two years. Mother of Malcolm B. Rutherford, of Monrovia. Services Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Temple & La Gorge Chapel." This is all that the Daily News says. I have quoted the notices in their entirety and as one can see, there is no mention of Mary's religious affiliation. By the way the Watch Tower was informed of this misquote.
Shortly before his death I wrote to GB member Lloyd Barry and informed him of this error and suggested that in future editions of the Proclaimers book that the Boonville Advertiser be given proper credit for the quote. Copies of all three notices that appeared in the Daily News--Post and the Boonville Advertiser were enclosed for his examination. But it is doubtful that the publishers of a book full of errors and misquotes will make even one minor correction.
Regarding Mary's source of income, her family was quite well off so it is possible that she had investments separate from JFR's. Therefore, she may not have been dependent on Watch Tower handouts.
I don't know if Mary was very active in "the ministerial work of Jehovah's Witnesses." Did she really believe the goofy doctrines that her husband had formulated? I can't say. She was an active member of the Boonville Presbyterian Church when JFR married her in December 1891. Joe was Baptist but a Presbyterian minister performed the marriage ceremony. Over a decade would pass before Mary and Joe bought into the Watch Tower.
My friend CW didn't say if Mary went door to door when she knew her in the 1950s. No doubt because of her advanced age she would have been inactive at this time. But CW did say that Mary was associated with the local congregation and did talk about her late husband's extracuricular activity .