Ruth Grace was born on Saturday, March 8, 1958, in Hanover to Aubrey “Stewart” and Audrey Grace (Metcalfe) Adlam. Sadly, Ruth’s mother died suddenly the following day. Stewart found himself in a challenging spot and called upon his mother-in-law, Ruth’s grandmother, Emma Metcalfe to help care for Ruth.
When Ruth was still an infant, Stewart met a young woman by the name of Lillian Annie Daisy Boniface. The two soon fell in love and eventually married. Lillian quickly became a loving, caring, mother figure to young Ruth. At this time, the three called a farm in Bentinck Township home where Ruth attended a one-room school in Mulock. However, tragedy struck Ruth and her family again, when her father, Stewart, died suddenly in 1965. Lillian loved Ruth as her own and was nothing but a dedicated and committed mother. As Ruth said, “She was there to take my hurts away and make my cuts and scrapes better.” Lillian taught Ruth well, passing on her wisdom concerning knowing what was right from wrong, the importance of caring for people, and the necessity of saving, not buying on credit, and never being wasteful. Following Stewart’s death, Lillian and Ruth moved into an apartment in Hanover. Ruth attended school locally and Lillian worked outside the home at the Densmore Nursing Home as well as cleaning houses.
It was during her marriage to Stewart, and following, that Lillian expressed her ecumenical nature. She had grown up Methodist (and then United Church of Canada) and Stewart was Baptist. So, believe it or not, Lillian would attend the UCC service in the morning and the Baptist services in the evenings. Ruth too was ecumenical as she was a dedicated Baptist, confirmed Lutheran, and eventually attended St. John’s United Church in Chesley.
It was during their time in Hanover that Lillian was introduced to a bachelor by the name of George Austin Russell. After a short courtship, the two were wed on June 28, 1967, at Grace United Church, Hanover. Now it was not only Lillian, but also George, who was blessed with the pleasure of loving, and the task of raising, their daughter Ruth, who was nine years old at the time. Once married, Lillian began attending Lutheran worship services, taking Ruth along with her.
George had taken over his family’s farm at Lot 11, Concession 14, Bentinck Township in 1943, the year his mother Emma died. It was to this farm that Lillian and Ruth moved. In the fall of 1971, the Russell family moved to 4th Street South West in Chesley. Ruth attended Chesley District High School and began working at the Chesley Hospital part-time, after school and on weekends. Upon graduating from high school, she went on to complete a year-long correspondence in dietary services. Hired on by the hospital Ruth was expected to also work at the Walkerton and Kincardine sites in housekeeping. The formal position title was Multiservice Worker, however, given her training in dietary services that is where her comfort was. In time Ruth was hired full-time in the kitchen at Chesley Hospital and in those days patients received “real food “ prepared by the staff. All in all, Ruth retired in 2013 after 36 ½ years! What an accomplishment!
George and Lillian loved to go for car rides, and tales were often told by Ruth of their excursions. They probably traveled every country road in Grey and Bruce and one never knew where they might end up. Their day could begin with a trip to Hanover, and have them end up in Owen Sound, Tobermory, or even Orangeville! These excursions often involved Karen and Joan Gibbons. Of course, every trip included a meal out, several of which were aboard the Chi-Cheemaun. Every road trip was an adventure!
While Ruth was still working full-time and caring for her parents, she fell in love and cared for two racehorses – ‘I Am Mighty’ and ‘Beforever’. This was despite the caution given to Ruth, not to become too attached to her horses as it is too painful when they die, but it was too late. All in all, Ruth had her horses for four years. Her horses not only raced Saturday nights in Hanover but also in London and Flamborough.
As if this didn’t take up a lot of Ruth’s time, she also managed to sing in the St. John’s Choir and knit primarily afghans. Ruth enjoyed reading, as well. To know Ruth is to also know of her involvement with the Chesley Players and Bijou theatre. She did every job imaginable except directing. This was still on her bucket list even after moving to Elgin Abbey. However, the time commitment, as is any job related to live theatre, would have been too great! Ruth was associated with the theatre for well over twenty years. She could be seen there pretty much at any time of the day and people could rest knowing all was well at the theatre, i.e. doors locked, lights turned off, and so forth.
While still working, it was almost inevitable that if one saw Ruth they also saw Karen McManus, who also worked at the hospital. They spent a great deal of time just hanging out together. Although both women experienced their own health challenges in recent years they were reconnected in recent months when Ruth relocated to Durham, and called Rockwood Terrace home. In the later years, Ruth purchased a trailer in Cedar Rail Campground where she also enjoyed swimming. Ruth was also an avid lawn bowler! Of course, there were also the rowdy games of Scrabble (often using a double set of letters to compound the challenge) and Rummy!
Sadly, in recent years Ruth experienced her fair share of health challenges. She soon called Elgin Abbey home where she was welcomed by their amazing staff. With the love and support of family and friends, she made the most of every day. Her final move came in recent months, whereby she settled into her new home at Rockwood Terrace in Durham. It was here that Ruth passed away on Friday, January 5, 2024, in her 66th year.
Ruth will be missed by her Metcalfe, Boniface, Russell, and Adlam cousins. She was predeceased by her biological parents, Stewart and Audrey (Metcalfe) Adlam, and adoptive parents George and Lillian (Boniface) Russell.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Thursday, January 11, 2024, from 1 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2 p.m. Private interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation or Diabetes Canada would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.