Ruth Iona was born in Miango, Nigeria to parents William and Iona (Hall) Collins. Her parents were missionaries, as part of the Sudan Interior Mission, but Ruth soon joined her older sister Betty back in Ontario at the Gowan's Home in Collingwood. It is interesting to note that missionaries could not keep their children with them in this time period and thus the Collins girls returned to Ontario to be raised. The Gowan's Home acted as a residence for the children of missionaries and it wasn't long before Betty and Ruth were joined in Collingwood by their younger sister Esther. Ruth attended both public and high school in Collingwood. Throughout this time there were weekly letters sent back and forth between the girls and their parents; however, sadly, Ruth's mom died in 1936 in Africa.
It was in high school that Ruth met a young man by the name of Alexander McDonald McCombie. The couple were high school sweethearts, however Ruth was one year older and soon headed off to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Once complete, she began her RN training at Wellesley Hospital in Toronto before getting her Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Toronto, where she specialized in premature infant nursing.
Ruth and Alex were married on October 31, 1953 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Toronto. Why Halloween you ask? Well Alex’s response was that the church and reception facility were available, so Halloween it was. The young couple soon took up residence in Waterloo, as Alex was schooling there. Ruth worked to help put Alex through his schooling and Alex repaid the favour later in life when Ruth furthered her education. The couple soon moved back to Toronto where they became more involved in their community. Here, with others, their faith and beliefs took the form of a new movement and they helped form Right to Life Toronto. They soon adopted Roger and Stephen before heading off to Baddeck, Nova Scotia with Alex's ministry. The couple soon welcomed Ian and Aird.
Ruth had a passion for music from a young age. Her high school music teacher helped reinforce her talents and encouraged her to pursue it as a career in life. Although it never became a full time job, it did allow Ruth to explore many opportunities. She became a trained musician after becoming a graduate of the Teacher and Performers programs at the Royal Conservatory of Toronto. When Alex became involved in ministry she joined him, and the two formed a great team, speaking and singing the words of the Lord. Ruth had recognized her strong faith from a young age, and if you ever talked to Ruth you knew her faith showed through. The kids often remembered her words as they exited the house off to school, "Remember to stand up for Jesus" and that was exactly how she lived her life.
The couple moved on to Sherbrook, Quebec where Trevor, Gavin, Jane and Jillian all joined their family. Now as a family of ten, Ruth was a very busy woman caring for her children and husband's needs. When she afforded herself some spare time, Ruth became involved in the Women's Missionary Society, Women's Institute and headed back to school. Over the years she obtained her BA and MA in classics (Latin and Greek) from the University of Toronto.
Over the years, Alex's ministry took the couple to further stops in Islington and New Westminister, B.C., before returning to Toronto where Ruth and Alex completed their ministry at the church where it all began, Knox Presbyterian Church on Spadina Ave. At Knox Church, Ruth served capably as organist, whenever the need arose. She absolutely loved to play the organ and especially appreciated the traditional music produced by William Doane and Fanny Crosby. Ruth was a social Conservative and voracious reader. She loved murder mysteries. Her family joked that it was Ruth’s goal in life to solve all criminal mysteries. It didn't matter if it was Murder She Wrote, America’s Most Wanted or The Hunt, Ruth was trying to solve these mysteries. Her competitiveness did not end there; ask the family about the classic Scrabble games between Ruth and her sister Esther.
It could be said that Ruth was a country girl at heart, and therefore it was no surprise that the McCombie's retired to their summer property outside of Chesley. Here, they remained active and involved in their community as they progressed into their retirement. Ruth used this time to further her reach in helping others and supported a variety of groups and organizations that aligned with her beliefs. Her resilient, independent personality will live on in her children and grandchildren for years to come.
Ruth was called home to be with her Lord on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 in her 89th year.
Beloved wife and best friend of Alex. Loving mother of Ian (Ruth) of Hanover, Aird of R.R. #4 Chatsworth, Roger of Caledon, Stephen (Mary) of Cambridge, Trevor of Toronto, Gavin (Ferne) of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Jane McCombie of Caledon and Jillian (Paul) Hodgson of Cambridge. Ruth will be lovingly remembered by her fifteen grandchildren, four great grandchildren and sister Esther McGibbon of Chesley. She was predeceased by her sister Betty, brother Paul and parents William and Iona (Hall) Collins.
A memorial service honouring Ruth’s life and her Lord will be held at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church, Markdale (14 George St, Markdale.) on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at 11 a.m. Inurnment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Cooke’s Presbyterian Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.
The family would like to acknowledge and thank Dr. Thompson, Dr. Van Sligtenhorst as well as the staff at both Unit 6 – 2 in Owen Sound Hospital and Chesley Hospital for their love and support.Send to friend