Music 02

Irma Ruth (Ruthie) Ebbels

August 2, 1923 ~ December 28, 2020 (age 97)


Ruth passed away peacefully on the 28th of December 2020 at Carewest Sarcee in Calgary after a progressive illness with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 97 years old.

Ruth was born in Saskatoon to John and Mabel Hutchison. She was raised in the farming community of Aberdeen, SK, where her father was a schoolteacher and principal.

In 1939 Ruth and her parents moved to Saskatoon where she completed Grade 12 in 1940. She then attended the University of Saskatchewan and graduated with a Bachelor of Household Science in May 1943 at age 19. Ruth’s love of music also led her to receive a University of Toronto Conservatory of Music Diploma in piano in October 1942.

Ruth met the love of her life, Bill Ebbels, at the U of S in 1940. Their romance continued after Bill suspended his studies in 1942 to serve as a naval navigation officer during WWII. After graduation, Ruth moved to Montreal where she worked as a dietitian at the Royal Victoria Hospital. During this time Bill proposed to Ruth by sending an engagement ring in the mail! They married on the 16th of September 1944 in Toronto while Bill was on leave, with Ruth returning to Montreal and Bill to Europe after their honeymoon in New York City.

Ruth and Bill reunited in Saskatoon after the war ended and Bill was discharged in 1946. Their first child, Hal was born in April 1947 with Bill completing his Commerce degree in May. They then moved to Regina where Ruth got her wish for a big family! The twins Jim and Jack arrived in April 1948, then Bill Jr. in 1951, Virginia in 1957, and Andrea in 1965. Ruth managed the household while supporting Bill’s career at the investment firm of Houston Willoughby.

Ruth cherished time with family and friends during the many summers at Lumsden Beach, on camping trips stuffed into the station wagon, on ski trips to Whitefish and Banff, on road trips to Calgary, Flesherton, ON and Toronto, at myriad tennis tournaments and sporting events, at the condo in Mexico, and with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ruth and Bill were patrons of the arts and active volunteer in several community organizations. Their longstanding memberships included the Lakeshore Tennis Club, Kinsmen and Kinettes, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Lakeview United Church, and Regina Symphony Orchestra.

Ruth had a particular passion for art, which was sparked by her uncle, David Hutchison, an artist in New York State. Ruth spent countless hours doing volunteer work, most notably as a gallery guide, a docent with the Travelling Art program, President of the MGV for 2 years and wrote A History of Travelling Art in 1987.

After Bill suffered a stroke and his subsequent retirement in 1988, Ruth devoted herself to Bill’s recovery and care. Their underlying love and respect for each other was an inspiration for us all.

We shall remember Ruth’s beauty, courage, curiosity, dedication, exuberance, generosity, laughter, love, strength, and a true zest for life. We will remember Ruthie for her maple mousse, angel food cake, Saskatoon pie, Rice Krispie balls, Nanaimo bars, jelly, pot roast, and (yes) overcooked vegetables. And for her vibrant piano playing, with friends and family gathered ‘round belting out songs at parties and during holidays.

Ruth is predeceased by her husband, William (Bill) Dennis Ebbels in 2006, son John (Jack) David Ebbels in 2010, and son James (Jim) William Ebbels in 2017.

Ruth is celebrated by her children and their families: Hal (Donna) of Calgary, their children Tannis Gaffney (Steve, daughters Grace, and Sophia) of Calgary, and Rob (Janice Armour) of High River; Jim’s wife Bonnie Hankins of Edmonton, and his daughter Alecia of Vancouver; Jack’s ex-wife Pat of Victoria, and their son Calen (Melissa Kerr) of Vancouver; Bill (Sheila) of West Cape May, NJ, their children Kelly (David Clarke) of Queens, NY Lendon Ebbins (David) of Red Bank, NJ, and Will of Little Falls, NJ; Virginia (Tim Cosbey) of Gabriola Island, and their son David of Victoria; and Andrea (Callum Hill) of Esquimalt.

A celebration of Ruth’s life will take place at a later date, as Covid-19 allows. In lieu of gifts, donations can be made to the Alzheimer Society of Canada or a charity of your choice. The Ebbels Family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the staff at Carewest Sarcee in Calgary for their wonderful care of Ruth.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Irma Ruth (Ruthie) Ebbels, please visit our floral store.


No services to be held at this time


Alzheimer Society of Canada
20 Eglinton Avenue West, 16th Floor, Toronto ON M4R 1K8
Tel: 1-416-488-8772

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