Ruth Elizabeth (Gibson) Melle

(July 21, 1923 - May 20, 2007)

A memorial page for a Canadian Mom by her son Gregory
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Ruth Elizabeth Gibson (The Early Years)

My mother was born at St. Paul's Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Later she would insist on having all of her babies in St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. (She appreciated having the nuns around). Ruth's mother Margaret was a nurse. Margaret worked at that occupation on and occasionally off for 50 years.

A few years after Ruth was born, her father packed the family up and moved in with the wealthy relatives in North Carolina. My mother first learned to speak with a Carolina accent. My mother's younger sisters were born in North and South Carolina.

After the stock market crash of 1929 Ruth's father looked at his shrinking investments and headed back to Canada. Most of her school years were in Saskatoon with many summer trips out to her grandmother's farm in Perdue, Saskatchewan.

Ruth's final year of high school was in Winnipeg. It was 1940 and war was raging in Europe. Mr. Gibson packed up the whole family and headed further west. Once she arrived on the West Coast, Ruth had no desire to return to the places of her childhood. Other than a single train trip to Expo 67, my mother never again ventured east of the Rocky Mountains.

Ruth Gibson baby portrait 1923 Ruth Gibson and her mother 1923 Wesley Kee and family on farm Ruth Gibson, Perdue, Saskatchewan 1924 Ruth Gibson, little rascal 1925 Ruth and her mother at a beach 1925 Ruth, Margaret and Jeannie at Carolina Beach John Gibson and his daughter Ruth at beach Ruth Gibson dressed for winter about 1926
Ruth Elizabeth Gibson at Perdue SK Gibson girls with goat cart: Winston-Salem 1928 The Gibson Girls about 1932 Gibson Family Portrait 1934 John Gibson and daughters about 1934 Ruth Gibson playing golf about 1939 Ruth Gibson: fashion Model about 1942 Ruth Gibson: fashion Model about 1942 Ruth Gibson portrait about 1943 Three Generations 1945: Kee, Gibson, Melle Gibson Family 1946: Ann, Jim, Jack and Ruth

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Ruth Gibson and Milton Melle about 1945 Ruth Gibson and Milton Melle about 1945 Milton Melle and Ruth Gibson wedding 1945 Ruth Gibson wedding 1945 Ruth Melle about 1947: First pie Ruth Melle and son Robert 1947 Milton and Ruth Melle and Robert 1947 Ruth and Milton Melle on boat 1947 Ruth Melle and Margaret Gibson and Robert Ruth Melle under Lions Gate Bridge, 1951 Milton and Ruth Melle family on street Gregory Melle and mother Ruth 1953

After that move to the farm in Langley, John Gibson apparently started spending too much time with his secretary.... So Ruth, her siblings and her mother left my grandfather on the farm and moved downtown to Vancouver's West End. I only met my grandfather once.

My mother attended business college and was a bookkeeper for many years. In her early career she worked at the Vancouver Stock Exchange and several businesses downtown.

Ruth Elizabeth Melle (The Later Years)

Ruth loved to swim and hike. She would walk up Grouse Mountain from the Lonsdale Streetcar to go skiing. She met my father, Milton Melle, when he arrived here in uniform at the end of WWII. My father was from Montreal but he had spent some early childhood years in Vancouver and out west is where he wanted to stay.
They both looked very happy in their early photos. Unfortunately, there were some deep incompatibilities and my parents divorced more than thirty years ago.

Ruth lived with her children in Vancouver and North Vancouver.
She lived almost 20 years in Vancouver's West End followed by 17 years in Richmond, BC. After her pneumonia at Christmas 2003 she remained in hospitals and extended care.

Ruth Melle at Christmas 1967 Ruth Melle about 1978 Ruth Melle at Niagara Falls Ruth Melle portrait in the eighties Ruth Melle in West End with a Maui tan Ruth Melle in Richmond in mid-eighties
Ruth Elizabeth Melle about 1980 Ruth Melle at Kelowna Waterslide Park Ruth Melle playing solitaire about 2001 Ruth Melle with her computer about 2001 Ruth Melle and Shiloe in 2001 Ruth Melle playing scrabble in 2001 Ruth Melle and Betty Harrison in 2002

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Ruth Melle and great-grandchild 2003 Ruth Melle and Gizmo 2005 Ruth Melle and Gizmo 2005 Ruth Melle and Gizmo 2005 Ruth Melle on scooter 2005 Ruth Melle at Langley Lodge in March of 2007 Ruth Melle in March 2007

But what a survivor she was! This was a woman who had Multiple Sclerosis for half her life; she had heart problems and eventually a stroke in early 2006. She last drove a car more than 20 years ago but made up for it by exploring most of Richmond and downtown Langley on her electric scooter. She was a lifelong believer in the pleasures of cigarettes and plenty of coffee. She enjoyed reading and loved crossword puzzles, scrabble and solitaire.

Some of my earliest memories involve sitting with my mother as she nursed her coffee and cigarette and watched the sun rise over Mount Baker.

She loved getting her hands deep into garden dirt and thought nothing was more beautiful than a baby's freshly powdered bottom. She knew that planting seeds and applying some fish fertilizer -- the smellier the better -- would eventually lead to some wonderful blooming flowers. In the same spirit, I invite you all to ignore the crap that life brings to us all and appreciate life's rays of sunshine when they do come your way.

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The contents and design of this website, along with with all images and photos, are Copyright © 2016 by Gregory Melle;
who did all the programming, design, writing and photography. All publication and reproduction rights are reserved.