DEAS, Ruth Mary – After a full and wonderful life, Ruth Deas (nee Wilson) passed away peacefully on July 29, 2020 at Spruce Lodge in Stratford, Ontario at age 91. Reunited with her loving husband Donald (d. 2015), parents Rev. Hugh and Laurel Wilson, brother John, and sister-in-law, Diane. A devoted mother, who modeled self-sacrificing love and commitment to her five children: Neil Deas (Sue) of Slave Lake Alberta, Dr. Laurel Moore (David) of Stratford, Ont., Margaret Shannon (Mark) of London, Ont., Mary Catherine Hutchinson (Bill) of Tobermory, Ont., and Jeff Deas of Hamilton, Ont. A loving and doting grandmother of thirteen grandchildren: Patrick, Mary Anne, Matthew (Sarah Lyn), and Sarah Moore; Alison (Linden), Aaron (Stefanie), and Andrea Deas; Carolynne, Meghan, Evan, and Craig Shannon; Claire (John Ugo), Eric (Leandra), and Gillian (Colin) Hutchinson. Great-grandmother to Daniel, Natalie, Johnathan, and Oliver.
Ruth was born in Brantford on Sept 3, 1928. The daughter of a United Church Minister, she grew up in southwestern Ontario (Oakland, Auburn, Brussels, Clinton). Ruth was a devoted daughter and fiercely protective of her little brother, dispatching any schoolyard bullies who threatened him. She and John shared many childhood adventures and remained close regardless of miles between them. An excellent student, Ruth chose a career in teaching, her first assignment a one-room school house in Gads Hill, Ont. In the fall of 1952, she was swept off her feet by the love of her life, Don, a dashing businessman from London, Ontario. They were married the following August and enjoyed a six-week European honeymoon. Two years and two children into their marriage, Don answered a call to ministry and Ruth stepped gracefully into the role of minister’s wife (a “career” at which she excelled) with enthusiasm, dedication and warmth. She and Don had five children, the arrival of three of them coinciding with relocation to a new home. Mom efficiently packed up the house and kids for several moves: London, Toronto, Cold Lake AB (student placement), Sault Ste. Marie, Ancaster, Mitchell, London, and Hamilton. With seemingly endless energy and determination, Mom capably juggled the needs of all in our busy household, even managing to get each of us to practice piano twice daily.
To ensure family harmony on long car rides to the family cottage, Mom rode in the back seat with the youngest and engaged us in rousing sing-a-longs. Mom’s enthusiasm for learning was contagious and she taught us to see a positive side in any setback. As kids, it seemed to us that there was nothing she couldn’t do. Physically and mentally strong, she embraced hard work and loved tackling a project. Ruth did not hesitate to pick up a hammer or paint brush, catch crayfish or clean a fish, and in her senior years, carry in four bags of groceries instead of taking two trips or pick up the end of a hospital bed (with Dad in it) and move it to a preferred spot. In 1977, Ruth took on a new challenge, returning to school to earn an RN, achieving top marks while still caring for her family. Her nursing skills and compassion benefitted patients in psychiatric care (Stratford, London) and VON (Hamilton).
The ultimate nurturer, Ruth’s family was her highest priority, her greatest joy, and often the envy of others. She loved hosting big family dinners, sometimes cooking for twenty, and spoiling us with her fabulous pound cake or apple pie. Her grandchildren were greeted with delight, hugs, tasty treats, and an enthusiastic playmate. She made sure they knew that they were loved and treasured just as they were. Ruth’s love and devotion to our father was inspiring, especially in his final 12 years of life post-stroke. When her own health required that Dad move into a nursing home, Mom visited him daily, morning to night for five years. Ruth had a lovely singing voice and was a lifelong member of church choirs as well as a member of the prestigious Earle Terry Singers. With the little leisure time she allowed herself, Ruth loved good literature and witty writing, challenging crosswords, watching Blue Jays and Ti-Cat games, the satisfaction of a well-packed car trunk, and time spent on the shoreline at our family cottage in Tobermory.
Cremation has taken place. Due to Covid restrictions, a family graveside service will take place in Tobermory on September 12, 2020. Those wishing to view the service on-line, please contact W.G. Young Funeral Home, Stratford, Ont. for information (519-271-7411). Our family is deeply grateful to the staff at Spruce Lodge for the exceptional care and compassion provided to Ruth for the last four years. Special thanks to Ruth’s friend, Lynn Forrest, for all her love and support that brightened Mom’s days.