Ruth Hamilton

Ruth Isabelle Larmour was born in Ottawa on 12 August 1915, the second child of William Larmour and Nellie Slack.  From an early age, her life was scarred by tragedy.  In 1918 when she was just three years old, her mother succumbed to the Spanish Flu.  In those days, children were sent to live with relatives, often bouncing from one home to another.  And so it was with Ruth: she and her older brother stayed with one great aunt and a younger sister stayed with their maternal grandmother.

Her father remarried a few years later, and she returned to the family home.  Around this time, a baby sister arrived on the scene, again changing the dynamic of Ruth’s home life.  But during these formative years, her stepmother instilled in the children a strong sense of self-discipline that persisted through Ruth’s full lifetime.

Few of us today can imagine the hardships of growing up during the Great Depression.  Her father was unemployed and family income was meager.  Such conditions were conducive to developing frugality, innovation, self-sufficiency and generosity.  Ruth worked in an Ottawa department store teaching knitting and designing new patterns for twelve dollars a week - eight of which went to her stepmother for her room and board.

In 1940, Ruth married an airman, Alwyn Seeman. It was war time, and like thousands of others they were posted across the country to various air stations.  Soon enough they had a baby daughter, Ruth Mary.  Tragically, Ruth Mary passed away at three months of age - of what today we would call Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.  The loss of her only daughter created a huge void for Ruth, never to be filled.

Back in Ottawa at the end of the War, her husband Al was killed on an air training flight in 1946.  Once again, great personal loss shaped her character - fortifying her personal resolve and determination.  Her tears were the catalyst for building a very tough and independent character. As a secretary on Parliament Hill working for several MPs, she met William Hamilton, an MP from Montreal and they were married in 1954. In the Conservative sweep of 1957, her husband was appointed to the Diefenbaker cabinet as the Postmaster General of Canada.

The wave that swept the Conservatives to power in1957, swept them out of office in 1962. Ruth and Bill moved from Montreal to Vancouver and successfully forged a happy, prosperous and relatively stable life. She gave freely of her time doing volunteer work, usually in support of people with physical disabilities.

Ruth was widowed again in 1989. She had been kept very busy during Bill’s latter years caring for him as his physical disabilities and kidney failure became more acute.  In 1994 she returned alone to Ottawa to be nearer to her family and school day friends.  With her recent passing near 96 years of age, she extends her legacy of giving to help countless people less fortunate than her for many years to come.