Ruth (Schwartz) Goldbloom
Born In: New Waterford, Nova Scotia, Canada
Born: December 5th, 1923
Passed in: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Passed on: August 29th, 2012
She was born Ruth Miriam Schwartz to the late Abraham and Rose Schwartz, in New Waterford, N.S.
She was predeceased by her siblings, Edna, Joseph (Cozette), Irving (Diana) and Bram (Inez) and survived by her brother, Harold (Diane).
After the sudden and early death of her father, she and her siblings were raised by their loving and strong mother, who remained a source of inspiration to Ruth until Rose’s death in 1993.
She is also survived by her devoted husband, Richard Goldbloom; her children, Alan (Lynn), Barbara (Tony Hughes) and David (Nancy Epstein); as well as her grandchildren, Michael, Kate (Michael Bozek), Ellen (Joshua Kardish), Amy, Stephen, Daniel and Will. She also leaves four great-grandsons, Sam, Ben, Parker and Jack; and many nieces and nephews.
Raised in her beloved Cape Breton, where she first displayed her lifelong tap dancing virtuosity, she completed her education at Mount Allison University and then McGill University with a degree in physical education.
She then married the love of her life, Dick, and they began a journey of 66 years of unmitigated happiness. She started her family and her lifelong commitment to voluntarism in Montreal, campaigning for numerous causes.
In 1967, they moved to Halifax, N.S., and began the next chapter of their lives. In health care, education and Jewish charities, she became a tireless fundraiser, advocate and leader. She was the first woman to chair the United Way campaign for Halifax. But her belief in tolerance and diversity also led her to become the first Jewish chair of the board of Mount Saint Vincent University, a Catholic women’s institution.
Her gratitude for the wonderful life Canada offered to her immigrant parents led to her engagement with the creation of Pier 21, now a national museum to honour all immigrants to Canada. Her energy, determination and leadership led to the successful completion of a campaign to fund the opening of the museum.
She served numerous organizations, including as a public director of the Investment Dealers Association of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She was a proud and active member of the Liberal Party of Canada throughout her life.
She was recognized with many honours, including appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada and recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia. She was awarded honourary degrees from McGill University, Dalhousie University, Mount Allison University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Acadia University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and Nova Scotia Community College. The Women’s Exchange Network designated her one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. Other honours included the Human Relations Award from the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, the Maclean’s Magazine Honour Roll and the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Award. In 2012, she was honoured for her work in advocacy by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and also received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Beyond her formal public recognition, she was known as a woman of limitless energy and enthusiasm, as ready to put on her tap shoes at age 88 as she was when she was six (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0ZDeCsobxc). She brightened the lives of everyone who came into contact with her and often found herself surrounded by younger people who felt her zest, curiosity and compassion. She was a magnetic force to whom people were inexorably drawn — especially children, who she engaged instantly. She took immense pride in her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, always goading them to take advantage of the “once in a lifetime opportunity” that she always saw coming their way. But she was equally devoted to multiple generations of friends in Halifax, Second Peninsula, Montreal, Cape Breton, and points beyond. She was the ultimate saleswoman for causes in which she believed, determined and hard-working, rarely ill because she felt she didn’t have time for it.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Aug. 31 at 2 p.m. at The Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal Rd., Halifax, with a reception to follow at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21,1055 Marginal Rd. Interment and shiva will be private for family only.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory can be made to the Pier 21 Ruth Goldbloom Educational Bursary Fund (http://www.pier21.ca/ruth-goldbloom-educational-bursary-fund) or to the charity of your choice.
Special thanks for the wonderful care of Dr. Jeff Dempster, Dr. Tracy Scott, Dr. Vicky Mitchell, Dr. Drew Bethune, Dr. Helmut Hollenhorst, the VON Lunenburg County staff and the Heart to Heart in Home Care agency in Chester Basin.