December 10, 1929 – August 10, 2021
Ruth was born in Lairndon, Essex, U.K., the fourth daughter of Laura and Rodney Everard. Being the youngest, despite her diminutive stature, she quickly learned to be strong, fiercely independent, agile, resilient and resourceful. These traits stood her in good stead throughout her long, full and multifaceted life. Growing up in Britain in the years before, during, and after WWII, meant that Ruth’s early years were filled with many challenges. She and her family were bombed out twice and she was evacuated twice. Despite these traumatic experiences, and despite her schooling being frequently disrupted, Ruth was a good student and excelled in English, Domestic Sciences, Fine Arts, Music and Physical Education. As a teenager, she enjoyed playing Varsity Grass Hockey, was a fine competitive gymnast, and was a Girl Guide, receiving a number of commendations for Intelligence, Handcraft, and Service. Ruth completed two years of Teacher Training at St. Gabriel’s College, London University. While at College, she met Harold (Proc) Proctor, also a student, and they married in 1951. Their first child, a daughter, was born a year later.
Ruth taught Kindergarten in England, and was the sole supporter of her family for two years, while Harold continued with his University studies. In 1954, they both accepted teaching jobs in Bermuda, and lived and worked there for several years. In 1956, they returned briefly to England where their first son was born, before immigrating to British Columbia, first living in Penticton and Keremeos, and later, moving to Vancouver Island and Maple Bay. During the 60s, they had another son and another daughter. Ruth spent the next part of her life happily and busily raising her family in Maple Bay, in a house that she helped to build, and continuing to teach at Alexander Elementary and Maple Bay Elementary. Sadly her marriage and full family life ended in the late 70s, at which point she courageously remade herself, first moving to Victoria with her youngest child, to upgrade her British Teaching Certificate at UVIC, and then returning to Duncan, where she continued to teach in the Cowichan School District. She later worked at Cowichan District Hospital, as a Unit Clerk, as ‘The Play Lady’ in the Children’s Ward, and as an Activity Aide at Cairnsmore Place. After retiring, Ruth lived independently in her own home in Duncan, for 18 more years, before relocating to Lake Cowichan, where she had many years of ongoing and dedicated support from her daughter, Jane. For most of her last year, Ruth lived once again in Maple Bay, with her daughter, Joanna.
Ruth was a highly intelligent, multi-talented, creative, tenacious, and stoic woman. She was always willing to generously share her knowledge and talents with others. Throughout her life, she was passionate about flowers, babies and small children. She also enjoyed holidaying in Mexico, camping, gardening, homemaking, and all forms of domestic arts. She was a prizewinning cook and baker, and was skilled in all forms of needlework. She loved music, taught music, and was an accomplished musician herself. She played the violin and piano well, sang in several local choirs, was a member of the Duncan Music Society and the Polyphonic Singers, and wrote music for choral performances. She excelled in her knowledge and use of the English Language, had a deep appreciation of English Literature, and was an avid reader. She was also a talented poet. Her depth and breadth of general knowledge were impressive, and until recently, she still took pride in her ability to complete four star Cryptic Crosswords, and Sudoku puzzles daily. She eagerly watched “Jeopardy” on television every evening, and was a formidable contender forthetitleof’JeopardyChampion’. Ruthenjoyedintelligent conversation. She had a sharp wit and a refined sense of humour. She was a stickler for good manners and correct grammar, and always demanded that tasks were completed ‘properly’.
Ruth died well into her 91st year. She is survived by her four children – Joanna Neilson, Nicholas Proctor, Jonathan Proctor and Jane Martin, by her grandchildren – Alisha, Jennifer, Graham, Caitlin, Morgan and Luke, by her great grandson – Dennis, and by two nephews – Christopher and Neil.
Ruth’s long and dignified life would not have been possible without the support of many people. Special thanks to Dr. Froese for his medical care, and especially for his warm, kind, compassionate manner which always focussed on Ruth’s comfort, and on the enhancement and preservation of her quality of life. Many thanks to the South Island Community Health Services Home Care Team – Case Manager, Sandy, and to the many Home Support Workers who helped her remain at home. Special thanks to Occupational Therapist, Carmen, and to Home Care Nurse, Kate, for their extraordinary skills, assistance and guidance. Thanks to the Red Cross Lending Library, the BC Ambulance and Cowichan Paramedics, to the CDH Emergency Department staff and medical staff on 2nd South who cared for Ruth in her final days, and to Raina at HW Wallace for her efficient yet compassionate assistance.
Plans for a gathering of family and friends to celebrate Ruth and her amazing life will be announced at a later date.
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