Ruth passed away peacefully in her 94th year, after a two week stay in hospital. While predeceased by her husband Larry and her only daughter Lori (Brian) of Calgary, she leaves behind her two sons Steven (Brenda) Ottawa and Eric (Jane) of Calgary as well as 11 grandchildren, Richard (Maui), David, Andrew (Jess), Michael, Tom (Antonella), Tessa, Erin (Christian), Bret (Victoria), Jeff (Jinny), Kevin (Michelle) and Jenny and her 9 great-grandchildren are Becca, Alexa, Jaelyn, Emily Jade, Rebecca, Hugh, Charles, Eleanor and Elizabeth. She also will be greatly missed by her sisters, Marlene (Calgary) and Norma (Penticton), and her brother John (Shirley Ann) of Cranbrook. She leaves behind many nieces and nephews too. She was the matriarch of a large family and she loved everyone equally.
Ruth was a strong, independent woman with a heart of gold and a fierce sense of duty to always help others. Her own mother passed when she was only 8, leaving her as the eldest of 4 children. Although raised in a home with a loving father and their beloved “Auntie” to care for them, you can be sure she took on a lot of responsibility in her formative years, developing her ability to care for others so deeply.
At 20 years of age (1948) Ruth graduated from nursing school at the Royal Jubilee Hospital and began her nursing career in Victoria. She began dating our sailor dad Larry, who was stationed at the Naval base in Esquimalt. They married in May 1949, and immediately began their family, first Steve in 1950, then Eric 4 years later, and lastly Lori 6 years later. In the early 1950’s she was hospitalized for many months with tuberculosis or the latter children may have come earlier.
She was never afraid to do things on her own. In the 1950’s while dad was away at sea, several times Ruth loaded up the car and drove by herself with the children from Victoria to Kimberley, to her father’s home. This was pre-1958, so there was no double lane highway through the mountain passes yet.
As dad’s career developed and we moved across the country to Port Arthur, Montreal, back to Victoria and then Ottawa, mom continued to work as a nurse. They moved to Calgary in 1974 and after dad retired mom kept working - managing the offices of various family practitioners.
Ruth was always actively involved in her children’s lives and voluntarily ran the concession stand during our little league years, and kept us active in Cubs, Scouts and Guides, helping wherever needed. For a time she even played in a softball league herself. As we grew up, she was always excited to help in any way she could. When Steve got his first condominium, mom, always frugal, redesigned curtains from our old house for his new one. She had many admirable talents but her cooking and especially her home baked pies were often the envy of many of her peers.
She would always canvas for the Cancer Society and other causes that were dear to her. In Calgary, mom was an active member of several organizations including her sorority, Beta Sigma Phi - Beta Masters Chapter, from which she will be awarded her 50 year pin this year. She volunteered for many years as a White Hatter at the Calgary International Airport. She also volunteered for the Calgary Food Bank for 15 years, several of those years with Jane. Her dedication there was recognized when she was featured by CTV as one of Calgary’s most inspiring Calgarians. She volunteered several days a month in the former Ten Thousand Villages store for many years. At Stampede time, mom sold raffle tickets even into her 90’s. She was also a volunteer at the Naval Museum of Alberta for many years and took great pride in being a member of the Calgary Naval Veterans Association especially the last two years when her son Eric became its President. She and dad were also founding members of the St Laurence Anglican Church in Lakeview.
Mom loved to socialize and before dad passed in 1985, they square danced for many years and absolutely loved it. This was a great way to quickly get out and meet people in a new city. They would dance several times every week, and even made holiday trips specifically for dancing. For example, one trip involved going to Vergennes, Vermont to stay several days with club members there. They had a board full of badges for various fun achievements, such as holding a square dance on the Canada/USA bridge and earning their international dancer badge. One trip involved dancing in the water at Skaha Lake near Penticton. These were some amazing trips which included the whole family.
Mom also loved five pin bowling. She bowled in three different leagues for many years at the Chinook and Mountain View bowling alleys. In one league she was treasurer for over 20 consecutive years. When she was 91 her team won the Alberta Provincials and they played in the National championships. For that, local television media made her their Athlete of the Week.
Widowed at 58, mom began to travel again. She went to Austria, Turkey, Australia and enjoyed China with Steve and Brenda in 2002 and later South Africa with another friend. She often travelled to her nursing reunions in Victoria.
Yes, she was very outspoken, rigidly set in her ways and beliefs often to the point of stubbornness, but she always kept a positive attitude about life, stoically believing that things would work out for the best. She happily lived alone in her own home until her last days required emergent care.
Thank you for the great example you set for all of us mom. You are much loved, not only by your own children and their families, but by everyone who knew you. The differences you made in our lives and those of so many others will live with us forever. This is indeed the legacy you left us: work hard, have fun, and always give back by doing whatever possible to help those less fortunate.
Many thanks to the doctors and nurses at the Rockyview General Hospital, Unit 74 for your kind, compassionate and loving care of Ruth.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Calgary Humane Society, the Naval Museum of Alberta Society or to the Veterans Association Food Bank of Calgary would be very much appreciated. Regardless, she would be grateful however you choose to donate your time or money.
A memorial service in Ruth’s honour will be held at a later date.