Florence Ruby Anna was born to parents Olaf and Hilma Widmark on March 9, 1926. She was the ‘tail end’ of a family of 5 kids, having 3 brothers, Stanley, Walter and Harold and one sister Opal. Her father homesteaded the farm property at Balmoral with her grandfather, who had both emigrated from Sweden. Her mother’s family were also from Sweden, and had started off their new world adventure in Minnesota, and then moved north to the Falun area of Alberta.
Ruby’s family was raised on the farm. Family income was supplemented by work in lumber mills, hewing railway ties, selling block ice from the pond and sales of milk and cream.
Ruby went to school as a young child at the old Balmoral School, now located at O’Keefe Ranch near Vernon. She attended school and reached Grade 9 before beginning to work as a cook in a variety of locations, sometimes in fishing or logging camps and also at the Montebello Hotel and York Café in Salmon Arm. She went to stay with her Grandma Olson in Wetaskiwin AB and to work at the Brightview Store, where she met the love of her life, George ‘Nip’ Bridge. They were married at St. Mary’s Church in Sorrento in 1950 after Nip’s parents, Lester and Harriet bought the small orchard where Sorrento Hardware is now located.
Ruby and Nip started a family in 1951, and by 1954 had moved back to the farm to help Ruby’s mother. Her mother lived with the Ruby and Nip for 15 years until her death. Ruby remained living on the original homestead until 2013 when she moved to Lakeside Manor.
Ruby and Nip farmed together, cut railway ties, ran a trail riding business and made a life together surrounded by their family and a wide network of farming friends. They enjoyed the Old Time Dance Club and socializing as well as working hard on the farm.
Ruby was a fiercely independent and capable woman, especially when faced with continuing on after the death of Nip in an industrial accident in 1983. She learned how to drive a car at the age of 56. With her brother, sister, their spouses and friends she did a few memorable bus tours and cruises. In later years Ruby enjoyed her grandchildren, painting, gardening, making music, skiing, walking and skating on the pond. She loved having neighbors and family drop by for coffee and her wonderful meals and baking. She loved to cook for large family events and make soup for the White Lake New Horizons club gatherings and drive her friend Lena shopping and to social events.
Ruby passed away November 12, 2014 and is survived by her 3 children, Judy (Marv) Southwick, Jack (Maureen) Bridge, Cherilyn (John) Drew, 8 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandchild. She will be greatly missed by all her family, as well as extended relatives and friends.
The family would like to thank Dr. Adele Preto and Dr. Angela Plessis for their many years of care as well as the staff at Lakeside Manor, Piccadilly Care and the Hospice Society. In lieu of flowers donations to the Shuswap Hospice Society or the local Red Cross Loan Cupboard are encouraged. Online condolences can be made through Ruby’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Family will be hosting a celebration of life on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 at Carlin Hall at 2:00pm.