Hamilton lost a remarkable citizen recently – one whose name will never make the front page, but whose generosity will have an impact on her community forever.
This friend of the Foundation – we’ll call her Ruth – was a woman of modest means: an elementary school teacher who grew up in Hamilton’s north end during the Depression. Unmarried, she chose to live modestly throughout her life and gave herself very little despite being a shrewd investor. But she did indulge her passion for gardening, her love of Aboriginal art, and her desire to give back to the community.
HCF first came to know her when she began making gifts to the Hamilton Spectator Summer Camp Fund in the early 1980s. It gave her immense pleasure to know that a child would benefit from the camp experience thanks to her annual donation. With her lifelong interest in the welfare of children, as both a school teacher and a swim coach, Ruth was one of the first donors to HCF’s Ontario Endowment for Children and Youth in Recreation Fund and a regular contributor to the Community Fund.
But her gifts were always anonymous.
Late in life, Ruth developed MS and she faced those new physical challenges with good spirit, creativity and determination, continuing to swim regularly and even finding a way to enjoy gardening when unable to kneel. She kept her mind active with crosswords and she was masterful at knitting. It was always a pleasure to spend time with her, surrounded by her beautiful paintings, sculptures and masks.
Her sudden death in 2009 saddened us all. But the fund established in 2010 with a bequest from her estate – directed to the needs of children – will honour her remarkable spirit in perpetuity.
Ruth was an intensely private person and we know that her preference was to remain anonymous in an article like this. It is a fundamental HCF value to respect that wish for privacy.
Excerpt from 2010-2011 Annual Report