The world was blessed when Ruth Alberta (Harmon) Staples Ganske was born on July 17, 1927. She received her promotion to Heaven on July 14, 2020 at the age of 92.
Ruth, the youngest of ten children, was born to Clarence Charles and Mabel Alberta (Bertie) Harmon in Stettler and grew up on the Botha farm ½ mile east of town.
Originally from Colchester, Ontario, Bertie's foster parents, Curtis and Emma Bertrand had relocated to the Botha farm in 1906 with their daughter.
Bertie met and married the hired hand, Clarence, in 1909. They purchased the farm from the Bertrands and raised their family there.
One Christmas, a card arrived from Bernice Mallott. Ruth asked who that was, and her Mother replied that she was a cousin who lived in “that institution in Red Deer.” Ruth was quiet then responded (prophetically, as it turned out), “Someday, I am going to work in that place where Bernice Mallott is.”
The Harmons survived the Great Depression and the Second World War. In the fall of 1942, on the school bulletin board appeared a notice of the local Stettler boys who were MIA in the Dieppe raid. There was a picture of Clive M. Staples who was to be her future husband.
After high school, she enrolled in the Provincial Training School in Red Deer graduating as a Mental Deficiency Nurse (MDN) in 1948. She loved her residents and her work quickly becoming a supervisor.
Ruth met and married Clive Staples (Doc) in 1951. Over the twelve years of their marriage, they were blessed with four boys and one girl. Upon taking Ruth and their youngest, Rick, home from the hospital, Doc suffered a major heart attack. Ruth cared for him for a year and a half until his untimely death on December 8, 1963.
One year later, she packed up the kids, moved to Red Deer and returned to work at Michener Centre where she rose to the position of charge nurse for the remainder of her career. During that time, she met Reuben Ganske, and the couple married on July 4, 1966. Together, they had two girls (FINALLY some girls!). The family moved back to Lacombe in 1969. In 1985, Reuben developed a critical illness, and Ruth cared for him until he passed away on July 24, 1986.
Ruth was serious about her work improving quality of life for her residents. She did not like the institutional feel and endeavoured to make her “ward” a home by providing bedroom furniture and dining room tables complete with table cloths and place settings. Now residents could eat together as a family with dignity. She implemented holiday celebrations with invitations to family members from all over the province. This was a huge success with many expressions of appreciation from loved ones.
With the eventual release of their personal funds, Ruth initiated a program for clients to finally purchase their own clothing allowing them to move away from institutional uniforms. She was responsible for arranging the first of many off-site vacations. Their first excursion was to Radium Hot Springs discovering after the fact that there was no insurance for out-of-province trips…………Ruth laughed about that one. She introduced a gardening program which provided residents with fresh vegetables, taught them new skills and gave them a sense of accomplishment, pride and purpose. The introduction of these simple programs were instrumental in establishing their presence within the larger community and marked a trend toward improved quality of life for people in care.
One of her great loves was spending time with her family at her property, Boss Hill, at Buffalo Lake. In the early 70’s, she purchased a Red Deer city bus and had it camperized to sleep eight. This was eventually replaced by the cabin that still stands today and continues to be enjoyed by the family. Many enjoyable summers were spent there as well as little holidays with dear friends.
Ruth was an active woman keeping herself busy and productive. She loved to travel visiting Hawaii, the Maritimes, Mexico, many different States and numerous trips to B.C. She also went on several trips to Great Britain with her friend Helen Hutchison as well as with family members.
Harvest time was always her favorite time of year! Canning and preserving season meant time spent with family and treasured winter surprises for all. For her family, it was about the enjoyment of watching her in action while passing down her invaluable skills to the next generations.
When her children were small, she emphatically stated, “One day, when I have some time to myself, I am going to paint!” And she did! At the age of 70, she picked up a paint brush and became a talented artist. Each of her seven children and twenty-two grandchildren possess one of Ruth’s cherished paintings.
SHOPPING!!!!! Ruth travelled with Helen to shop, shop and shop. They went many places but loved Lou’s in Stettler. Ruth was forever in need of a “new jacket” sometimes purchasing two or three at a time. She and Helen would laugh all the way home often hiding the goods in the trunk of her car!
The most important thing in her life was her relationship with Jesus Christ. The Word affected every area of her life. She did her best to train her children “in the way they should go.” She was such a good mentor practising what she preached, getting up when she fell down and trusting the Lord in all she did. She never hesitated to share her faith and always looked for opportunities to introduce someone to the love of God. She was a good and faithful servant and an inspiration to all she left behind.
Ruth is survived by her children, Randy (Robin) Staples, Debra (Dan) Ermantrout, Terry Staples, David (Edith) Staples, Rick (Andrea) Staples, Crystal (Grant) McKean and Angela Ganske (Todd Bawtinheimer), 22 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents, siblings and their spouses, her husband Clive Staples and her husband Reuben Ganske.
We thank you, Mom. We have been so blessed to be yours.
All of us, children, spouses, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and beloved friends, look forward to being reunited with you. You will be deeply missed.
Due to the current restrictions for gatherings a Private Family service will be held for Ruth on July 24th, 2020.
We encourage you to leave messages and condolences for the family through this website.
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