Today we remember a great woman with incredible strength and courage. I am proud to say I am her daughter, Kimberly. Along with me, she leaves behind three other children who need her, Jason, Jody, and Kevin.
We need her, but she has spent her life preparing us to live and flourish without her. Her strength endures in all of us and she will continue to guide us.
I could not have wished for a better mother. If we end up with even a fraction of her amazing qualities, I will be happy.
Ruth Gilbertson was born in Coronation, Ab. to Marcus and Sonja Smith on May 10, 1959.
Ruth had three older brothers: Jimmy, Gordon and Danny, and was followed by one younger brother, Randy.
She was raised tough in a family full of testosterone, with Grandma Sonja being a strong woman herself.
Ruth completed grades 1 through 8 in Veteran school, and then moved to Coronation for grades 9 through 12.
After grade 12, she completed the Lab and X-ray program. She then completed her practicum at Rimbey Hospital and worked in Oyen for a couple of years.
Ruth married in 1979, Jason came in 1980, Jody in 1981, Kevin in 1984 and myself a few years later in 1989.
In 1999, we moved to Edmonton and Mom bravely retook her combined lab and X-ray tech course at NAIT. She graduated within the top of her class.
Somehow she managed this accomplishment and, a big move to the city, all the while supporting four children.
Upon completing her schooling Mom began working at Capilano Medical Clinic and then Fort Saskatchewan Hospital.
In 2007 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was in remission until 2015 when she was diagnosed with a large brain tumor in her cerebellum. With her signature strength and grit, she underwent radiation and surgery and also a big move to Okotoks.
On April 13 of this year, she was told the cancer had metastasized into her spine,and was given a prognosis of 4 – 6 weeks.
Within the last year, she spent time in Coronation, Ab., in the comfort of our amazing grandmother, Sonja.
She made many friends in Edmonton, and left many behind at the farm.
The thing about mom, though, and one of the many reasons she was loved by many, is she had no trouble picking up where she left off with people. Her personality allowed her to maintain friendships from miles away.
She was never one to live in the past and was always looking towards the future and ways she could make herself and her children’s lives better.
Her health struggles aside, she had a love for many things. She loved to travel.
Over the years she had trips to Europe, Phoenix, Mexico and Hawaii to only mention a few. Her last trip was a significant one, an adventurous trip to India with Grandma Sonja.
She also loved to cook, with rave reviews of being one of the best, and she hosted many family dinners for all. Kevin’s friends used to have to battle it out to get a coveted spot at the dinner table.
Growing up she was inflicted positively with the green thumb. Mom loved to garden. She won many “Communities in Bloom” competitions at the farm. In addition, the Edmonton yard was always immaculate, and she maintained a garden which was larger than most yards in Edmonton.
Ruth was recently blessed with her first grandchildren, twins Oliver and Alex.
We all wish she had had more time to carry out her role of a loving grandmother. She would have been so great at it when she was at her best.
Who she leaves behind is a direct reflection on who our mother was.
Hardworking, persevering, bull nosed, the symbol of strength. But on top of it all, she was the most amazing and generous person. She continued to value friends and family before herself to her final day. She is who I strive to be.
by Kimberly Gilbertson
Thank you to everyone who had went the extra mile for Ruth in her final days.
The unexpected food deliveries, visits, and support made the unbearable slightly easier. Ruth was lucky to have so many caring people around her.
Thank you for all the donations given to various organizations in Ruth’s name. In addition, we are eternally grateful for the staff at Coronation Hospital for their excellent care.
Love, the family of Ruth Gilbertson and Sonja Smith