On May 21st Ruth Marie Barr (nee Sawyer) died peacefully in hospital at Kentville, Nova Scotia, one month before her 95th birthday. Prior to her brief hospitalization she had, despite mounting health issues, lived at her home in nearby Wolfville. In October 2017, Ruth was predeceased by her husband of nearly 72 years, Vernon. Although Ruth and Verne had close ties with St. Stephen, New Brunswick, in 2002 they moved to Wolfville to be closer to their daughter and family. Ruth was born on June 20th, 1923, in Upper Mills near St. Stephen. Like her husband she was a veteran of World War II, having joined the RCAF in 1942. She was posted initially to Moncton, followed by numerous moves as far west as Weyburn, Saskatchewan, before finishing the war years in Ottawa with the rank of corporal. Most of her wartime career involved the Service Flying Training School for allied airmen, chiefly Canadian and British. On October 13th, 1945, Ruth followed up on her pre-war romance and married Verne in Hull, Quebec.
After the war they returned to St. Stephen and, like many others at that time, began a family of 'baby boomers'. A devoted mother and exemplary housekeeper, Ruth continued to play basketball, a passion that she instilled in her children. Having graduated in 1940, prior to her war service, from the Crabbe Business College in St. Stephen, she resumed her secretarial career in 1959 with the Fisheries Research Station in St. Andrews and subsequently the Eastern Pulpwood Company in Calais (later absorbed into the Georgia-Pacific operation in Woodland, Maine). Always eager to take on new technology, she started in 1970 with a 'bouncing ball' IBM typewriter and progressed through the word processor era before moving on to the personal computer and then the internet. During these years she also found time to be an avid stamp collector. Sadly, in 2006, this intellectual evolution was interrupted by several strokes from which she never fully recovered. After Verne's retirement in 1987, Ruth and he enjoyed many years exploring North America in their motor-home with their dogs Robbie and Charlie, wintering in Florida or with their son in Vancouver. A recent milestone was their 70th wedding anniversary celebration in 2015.
Ruth's father Bryce was gassed in the trenches of WWI and died of respiratory complications in 1925. After his death, her mother Agnes with infant Ruth embarked on an adventurous drive across the USA to a fresh start in Los Angeles. Illness in the family forced a reluctant return to St. Stephen in 1928, where, except for the war years, Ruth remained until the move to Wolfville. For Agnes, as a single parent raising Ruth on a widow's war pension was challenging but she somehow found enough funds to build the house at 47 Hawthorne Street in which Ruth and Verne eventually raised their family and continued to live until 2002.
Ruth is survived by her children Sandra and Peter Barr and Michael Neilan, as well as 4 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, her niece Pam and nephew Greg.
We are grateful to caregivers Paulette, Amanda, Dianna, Larissa, and Laura for their dedication and compassion through to the end.
At Ruth's request, no funeral service will be held. Memorial donations would be welcomed by the Valley WAAG Animal Shelter in Wolfville, or any branch of the SPCA. Condolences are to Sandra Barr, Box 3403, Wolfville, NS, B4P 1B7 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, 34 Coldbrook Village Park Dr., Coldbrook, NS, B4P 1B9 (902-679-2822).