Ruth Beatrice Newman (nee Coulter) (2 July 1917 - 20 October 2016) was an award-winning pianist, insurance claims adjuster, and longtime widower from Canada.
Ruth was born in Calgary, Alberta, on 2 July 1917 to Reverend Joseph Coulter and Williamina Bessie Coulter. She was the fourth of seven children born to her father, a minister. Her father's job took her family on several moves during her childhood.
In 1931 she moved with her family to Manitoulin Island, Ontario, and then in 1935 to Toronto, where would remain for most of the rest of her life.
In 1938, Ruth's parents moved to Sunderland, so she began boarding at Milverton Boulevard, in Toronto. By coincidence (or not?) "Milverton" was also the name of the village where her father was born.
She received the Associate, Royal Conservatory Toronto (ARCT) teaching diploma in a ceremony on 21 October 1941. She received the prize for top marks that year.
Marriage and family
She married Bruce Newman on 10 October 1942 and had three children by him:
- Sandra Hugheen (born 5 August 1944)
- Evelyn Elaine Louise "Lynn" (born 19 July 1946)
- Mary Ann (born 30 July 1950)
Ruth named her first-born daughter's middle name after her brother Hubert Coulter who had died 7 May 1943 in WWII.
Ruth named her second-born daughter after her brother Everett Coulter who had died 20 February 1944 in WWII.
Ruth has 10 grandchildren:
- By Sandra: Megan, Meredith, Laura, Patrick
- By Evelyn: Alexander, Vanessa, Andrew, Stephen
- By Mary Ann: Michael, Carolyn
As of 2018 she has 9 great-grandchildren:
- By Meredith: Charlotte, Aria (born 6 July 2016)
- By Vanessa: Brynn (born 6 January 2014)
- By Andrew: Benjamin, Holly, Dominic, Bridget
- By Carolyn: Cole, Bentley (both born 31 December 2017)
Thus, all her blood descendants remain alive, and they number 3 + 10 + 9 = 22.
|2 July 1917||0||Calgary, Alberta||Born|
|July 1923||6||Jasper Park, Edmonton, Alberta||Moves|
|July 1927||10||Little Current, Manitoulin Island||Moves|
|July 1931||14||Scarborough Junction, Toronto, Ontario||Moves|
|July 1933||16||Obtained Driver's License|
|21 June 1938||20||Ruth sits for the Grade 10 Royal Conservatory piano exam|
|July 1938||21||Milverton Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario||Parents moved to Sunderland, so she began boarding at Milverton Boulevard|
|19 June 1941||23||Ruth sits for the Royal Conservatory ARCT piano exam|
|July 1941||24||Parents moved to Waverly Boulevard, to retire when father was 70. They inherited $7000 from the hermit (!) bachelor uncle of mother. Grandmother came to live with them.|
|21 October 1941||24||Royal Conservatory ARCT Concovation Ceremony; Ruth wins the top prize for the top marks.|
|17 March 1942||24||St Patrick's Day Dance; Ruth plays piano for the event; this was the day she met her future husband Bruce Newman|
|June 1942||24||Engaged to be married to Bruce|
|10 October 1942||25||Marries Bruce Newman|
|October 1942||25||2040 Gerrard Street East, Toronto||Rents flat at Gerrard Street East|
|July 1944||27||Bungalow on Sutherland Avenue, Leaside, Don Mills||Purchases a house|
|5 August 1944||27||Sandra Hugheen born.|
|4 March 1945||27||At Hart House, Ruth plays the piano at the wedding of her oldest sibling, Flight Officer Wes Coulter.|
|19 July 1946||29||Evelyn Elaine Louise "Lynn" born.|
|18 July 1948||31||Mother died of complications during gall bladder surgery. Grandmother died soon after, "of a broken heart."|
|July 1949||32||Appleby Road in Islington (later Etobicoke, now Toronto)||Moves because Bruce was headhunted for a job with HEPCO (now Ontario Hydro)|
|30 July 1950||33||Mary Ann born|
|July 1954||37||#9 Chelford Street, Don Mills||Moves since Bruce went back to Sangamo Company|
|16 March 1960||43||Father dies|
|1961||43||Guelph. (College Street?)||Moves|
|1962||44||Tan Valley, Toronto||Moves to a "beautiful house!" - Ruth|
|1963||45||Guelph. (University Street?)||Moves|
|27 June 1968||50||Bruce dies|
|July 1968||51||18 The Donway East, Don Mills, Ontario||Moves into a second-floor apartment, where she will live for over 41 years.|
|1977 - 1987||60 - 70||Her ten grandchildren are born.|
|July 1982||65||Visits Thunder Bay for a few weeks/months to help her daughter Mary Ann raise her son, infant Michael Currie|
|Circa 2002||85||Stops driving her very old white car (model?)|
|2003 January to April, September to December||86||Ruth lets her grandson Michael Currie live with her in the second bedroom.|
|March 2010||92||Greenview Lodge, 880 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario||A series of strokes forced her to be moved out of her longtime residence in Don Mills. She initially moved to Greenview Lodge, 880 Lawrence Avenue East, just up the street from her apartment.|
|Later in 2010||93||Allandale Long Term Care, 185 Ontario Street South, Milton, Ontario||Moved to long-term care facility, with frequent visits and extra care provided by her daughter Sandra, who was living and working nearby.|
|20 October 2016||99||Dies.|
Life as a widow
On 27 June 1968, after 25 years of marriage, Ruth was widowed when Bruce died suddenly at age 50. She never remarried. Ruth kept a photo of Bruce by her bedside for the rest of her life.
From July 1968 to March 2010, she lived on her own in a rented apartment at 18 The Donway East, in Don Mills, Ontario. Her phone number for those years was 416 444 6583.
Having moved a dozen times in her life, perhaps she was tired of decamping on a regular basis, and so she chose to remain in place for a long time.
At the age of 51, to make ends meet, Ruth took her first job since her piano-playing days 25 years earlier. She worked in some sort of clerical capacity at an insurance company for about ten years, from about 1968 to 1980. She retired in about 1980.
After retirement, she continued to lead a tightly-regimented, independent life at her second-floor apartment. Her apartment frequently served as the meeting-point or stopover for her daughters and their families, and she would receive visitors on a frequent basis.
Somewhat oddly, she did not frequently visit or socialize with others beyond her daughters and grandchildren. She had several siblings within a few minutes' drive but she only infrequently saw them (perhaps once a year or less, at appointed family gatherings).
She had a close friendship with her stepfather's second wife Virginia Worstell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were both widowed around the same time, and in the 1970s and 1980s they took trips together by train.
On 1 July 2007 she celebrated her 90th birthday at her daughter Sandra's home in Speyside, Ontario, between 13:00 and 17:00. The invitation letter to the family, from granddaughter Megan Kenzie, read in part:
The 90th Birthday of Everyone’s Favourite Relative:
Our lady of Don Mills, The Former High Jump Champion of Manitoulin Island, Piano Player Extraordinaire, Mother of the Newman Girls, Grandma, Great-Grandma, sister, sister-in-law, aunt…Ruth Newman !— Megan Kenzie, July 2007
Illness and death
She was healthy and lived independently until age 92, in early 2010.
In March 2010, a series of strokes forced her to be moved out of her longtime residence in Don Mills. She experienced severe damage to her ability to manage her emotions, as well as to remember anyone. She retained her ability to play intellectual games like word searches, and she would complete dozens of these puzzles a week until the end of her life. She also gradually lost the ability to speak.
She initially moved to Greenview Lodge, 880 Lawrence Avenue East, just up the street from her apartment.
The mothers have gone through everything from Grandma's apartment. Some stuff has gone with her. Special/valuable/nostalgic/useful items have been distributed between the mothers. Attached are a few photos of some of the things that are left. See following email for second set of pics. We are trying to clear most things out of the apartment this week, and the rest by mid-April. Let me know if you want anything you see here, and we will keep it.— Email, Megan Kenzie, 21 March 2010
Later in 2010, she moved to Allandale Long Term Care, in Milton Ontario. She remained there for the next 6 years, with frequent visits and extra care provided by her daughter Sandra, who was living and working nearby.
She died 20 October 2016, at age 99, in her 100th year.
Timeline was described to her grandson Michael Currie personally in 2003.