The family of Ruth Shaw announces her passing on Monday, November 4, 2013, at the age of 95. In accordance with her wishes, a service to celebrate her life will take place in Yorkton in the spring of 2014.
Ruth Reaka Fessler was born October 2, 1918 in Drinkwater, SK, the oldest of five children born to Oscar and Jessie Fessler. She attended school at Drinkwater, and enrolled in Normal School in Regina in 1936 where she earned her teaching certificate. In 1937 she started teaching in Parry, SK, and taught in the south and west parts of the province. In 1941 she left teaching, and took a job in the circulation department of the Regina Leader-Post in Regina. There she met Cliff Shaw, who was a photographer for the newspaper. They were married in Regina in 1943. In 1944 they came to Yorkton, where Cliff was the bureau manager of the Leader Post. Their children, Doug and Karen, were born here. Both Ruth and Cliff were extremely active in the community. When Cliff died unexpectedly of a heart attack on the opening day of the 1959 Yorkton Exhibition, Ruth was thrust into the role of being the one-person news and distribution bureau for the Leader-Post. From her office on Third Avenue South she would ensure that the paper carriers received the papers for their routes, collect the subscription fees, and most evenings cover news events in Yorkton for publication in the next day's newspaper. She continued working for the newspaper until 1975. She then became the manager of the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce, and continued in that position until 1997.
Ruth was a tireless volunteer in the community, and a promoter of Yorkton, its businesses and its organizations, for more than six decades. The Yorkton Chamber of Commerce recognized and honoured her contributions in September with a Life Membership a few weeks short of her 95th birthday. She was a member of the Rotary Club, and through the years assisted as a volunteer with just about every project and event that happened in the city, particularly, after her retirement, with the Yorkton Exhibition Association making guests and exhibitors feel welcome at receptions. Notable was her contribution to the Yorkton Film Society, which evolved into the Yorkton Film Festival. Ruth was the last of the original founders of the film society, and on the occasion of her 90th birthday, her friends, family and the festival established the Ruth Shaw Best of Saskatchewan award, which recognizes the best film made in the province. Ruth was named Yorkton's Citizen of the Year on July 1, 1989, and in October 1999, was the recipient of the Chambers of Commerce Executives of Canada's Excellence Award for her meritorious service to the Chamber and community. She received the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.
Ruth loved and devoted herself to her family and friends. She was a proud citizen of Yorkton. She enjoyed politics and devoured newspapers.
After her retirement in 1997, she wrote more than a hundred articles with her observations of people, places and the history of her home city. Her life spanned a remarkable period of time. In 1923, when she was five years old, she rode her pony to a one-room school. Ninety years later she was on her computer in her nursing home, keeping in close touch by email with her family and friends across Canada and overseas.
Ruth was fiercely loyal, had a wonderful sense of humour, was principled, stoic, determined, hard-working and courageous in the face of adversity. She was a great story teller, eyes twinkling, with an incredible memory and firm opinions. Her love was unconditional. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched.
Ruth was predeceased by her husband Cliff in 1959, by her daughter Karen in Ibbitson in 2010, her sister Eileen Vold, and her brother Bud Fessler. She is survived by her son Douglas and Leslie Shaw and their children David, Elizabeth, Susan and Nancy Shaw; Bryan Ibbitson; Jenn Dool; granddaughter Jessica and Derek Anderson and their children Tyler, Bella and Ava; grandson Timothy and Mette Anderson; brothers Ken Fessler and Hank Fessler, and many nieces, nephews and their families.
Those wishing to make a contribution in Ruth's memory may do so with a gift to the Yorkton Film Festival Ruth Shaw Award. If you wish to be advised of the date and location of the celebration of Ruth's life in the spring, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends so wishing may forward their condolences to the family by visiting www.christiesfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Christie's Funeral Home & Crematorium, Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
Published in The Regina Leader-Post on Nov. 9, 2013