Ruth Zena Rogers (Ross), 92 years old, passed peacefully away at St. Pat’s Nursing Home on June 11th, 2022. Predeceased by her loving husband Jacob Rogers and grandson Kyle.
Ruth was born in London, August 26th 1929, to parents Harry and Ethel Goodman-Ross. Ruth’s biological mother died when Ruth was only 5 years old and her younger sister, Stephanie, were raised by their step mother Evelyn.
Ruth is fondly remembered by her sons David (wife Janice), Michael, Christopher (wife Therese) and Peter (Julia), Grandchildren Sarah Deer (husband Curtis), Daniel (Leah), Mitchel (Sylvia), Morgan and Alex. Great grandchildren Kyle and Lyla Deer. Her sister Stephanie (Wilson), sister in-law Mabel Rogers. Nieces Rachel Phipps, Polly Van Heeckeren, Ruby Johnson and Suzanne Bursey.
Ruth grew up in London when stores sold apples and pickles in barrels. I assume in separate barrels. When the war began Ruth and Stephanie were moved about the country to find safe haven. Thus Ruth’s early education did not run smoothly as the girls had to adjust to new schools and classmates. Avoiding participation in physical education became Ruth’s number one talent.
Eventually Ruth turned her attention to the medical profession and studied as a midwife in Plymouth, England. It was then that (early 1950’s) that Ruth’s best friend Jill (and later Dorry as well) convinced her to see out an adventure. Ruth quickly dismissed heading to Africa or any place that required horseback riding as transportation. Thus the ladies decided to join the Grenfell Mission and headed to Flower’s Cove, Newfoundland. Best described by her son Peter after looking through old photos.
“There she is, my mom, smiling in a snowstorm, with sled dogs, digging gardens, commandeering small watercraft, tending a stove at a campsite, greeting a sea plane, and wrestling two small boys into setting still for a photo. She came to Newfoundland to work at a Grenfell Mission rural hospital. She stayed and married the Anglican priest. Her family was thousands of miles away across the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, she made this place, her history and her story.”
Marrying Jacob was, to her, the highlight of her life. Jacob was the minister but as Ruth’s oldest son, David, stated “Nurse Ross became a Legend.”
Ruth followed Jake, with three sons, to London as he studied at King’s College and he became the parish priest. Then it was off to Lennoxville, Quebec to be a surgical assistant while Jake completed his studies at Bishop’s College. Jake’s parents came along to care for the three boys. Despite Ruth’s best efforts the boys never did learn French.
Ruth and Jake returned to Newfoundland and Ruth worked at the Janeway while Jake became the Anglican minister in Petty Harbor. While in Petty Harbor her youngest son, Peter, was born. The family moved to a new home built by Jake in the Goulds. While Jake eventually turned to teaching Ruth too went back to school and began her career working with the V.O.N.
Upon retirement Ruth and Jake travelled the world via yearly cruises. Orlando, Mexico, Aruba, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, England, Israel, Turkey, Sweden, Norway. Ruth fulfilled her lifelong dream to attend the Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany. Ruth was an avid reader and loved gardening.
Jake passed away in 2014 but Ruth continued to write her story. She survived open heart surgery in 2015 and got to see her two great grandchildren Kyle and Lyla (Sarah’s children) grow. They came to know her as Nanny Roo. As Ruth’s health began to fail and she found herself confided to bed at St. Pat’s, pictures and videos of Kyle and Lyla were her greatest joy. The odd times of the last two years brought isolation but it was always brightened by two cherished grandchildren.
As Sarah said “She (Ruth) was one tough old Brit.” Greatly loved and someone we can all aspire to become.
At Ruth’s request cremation has taken place. Visitation will be at Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Rd., on Wednesday, June 15 from 2-4 and 7-9. Funeral service will take place at the Anglican Cathedral, 16 Church Hill, St. John’s, at 11:00 AM on Thursday, June 16. Interment will follow at the Anglican Cemetery, Kenmount Rd.
Special thanks to all the wonderful staff on 2N at St. Pat’s Mercy Home for your care and kindness during Ruth’s last years.
Donations in Ruth’s memory can be made to the Anglican Cathedral.
Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Church Street, St. John's