Memorial Page for
October 15, 1932 - June 25, 2022
Memorial Photo Journey - In Honour of my Mother
Adrian Raizman (daughter)
My mother would tell you that she had a good life even though the last couple of years had not been easy for her with her declining health. My mom always had a positive outlook in life and kept pushing herself forward every day. She loved to make plans for special occasions and events; she called it her “scheme a dream” plans. My mother was an independent woman, strong willed, outgoing, with an intellectual and curious mind; she had a loving, generous and caring nature. She loved her family with all of her heart. Although most of the family lived afar, in Edmonton and Toronto, Mom was always part of our lives. She loved her children unconditionally, and she loved our spouses, Jack her son in law, and Perla, her second daughter. Her grandchildren, Josh, Alisa, Ariel, Noah and Carmi were the centre of her life and she had so much “nachas” from their accomplishments in life. As the family grew and the grandchildren married, she adored their spouses and partners, Sarah, Soren, Lisy and Renee. Her greatest joy was the birth of her great grandchildren in the last few years, Sloane, Maya and Jonah.
I found a folder of Mom’s personal memoirs that she wrote over the years. While Ron and I were sitting at my mom’s bedside and waiting for my brother Jeff to arrive, we read out loud her stories.
Mom wrote that she grew up in the north end of Winnipeg and often recounted stories of running around the neighborhood as a free spirit. She met my dad, Joe, at the age of 19, and fell instantly in love, and they married a couple of years later. Together they worked hard at their store, Westhome Foods Supermarket, working long hours every day and on weekends. My childhood memories include my 2 brothers, Ron and Jeff and me, running around the aisles and sneaking chocolate bars. Later, they expanded the business to include Ye Old Butchershop. In between working long hours with my dad, my Mom found time to act in Jewish plays, in the Rainbow Stage musical, My Fair Lady, joined a Yiddish choir, attended the U of W, and graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978. She was so proud of this accomplishment. My mom decided that she wanted to teach Yiddish and worked as a Yiddish teacher at IL Peretz School and Talmud Torah for a couple of years.
My mom was unstoppable and so full of adventure and energy. In between work, raising 3 children, and her extra activities, my parents loved to entertain. There were many pool, bbq parties and card games at their home at 71 Vanier Dr. My mother was so free spirited and full of life. She loved to entertain her friends and when the music played she couldn’t resist getting up to dance and sing for her friends. My parents were wonderful dancers together on the dance floor.
The high holidays and Passover were a highlight with many specially prepared delicacies prepared carefully by my parents. The living and dining rooms were filled to capacity with tables and chairs filling up the space with my grandparents, Sam and Sophie Letinsky, extended family and invited guests.
My parents were very generous and believed in Ttzsdakah. They always gave generously to their Jewish community and supported causes in Israel. They welcomed and befriended into their home a Russian immigrant family and helped them settle in Winnipeg. They sponsored a young Polish boy named Vatsik to stay with them for a few months, helping him find work so he could send money to his family. He was the great grandson of the Polish family who rescued my father’s family in Poland during WW2 saving them from the fires of the Holocaust. Years later my parents made the trip to Poland to visit the family. My parents started a Tsdakah fund with our families to raise money every year to send to this family in Poland, never forgetting their bravery.
My parents loved to travel. They went on many cruises, visited Israel, Mexico and Argentina where they met my father’s long lost cousin, and had many visits to Toronto to visit family and friends. They never missed a family “simcha”. Later, after they retired from work, my parent’s vacationed in Hallandale Florida every winter in their condo and enjoyed the Floridian sunshine.
My mother had a tragedy in her life when her beloved brother Ed passed away from a tragic accident. Her mother became very ill and passed away in 1985 and her father passed away in 1999. She always kept in contact with her sister-in-law Ada Letinsky in Winnipeg and her sister-in-law Marion and brother-in-law Sam in Toronto, her many nieces and nephews, other family and dear friends from all over the country. She never liked to miss a phone call. She was lovingly known as Baba Ruthie and Aunty Ruthie.
My mother’s first language was Yiddish and she loved all things Yiddish and Jewish, including Jewish music and books about the holocaust. She was an avid reader and was reading until the last week before she passed away in the hospital. When I came to visit her, I often found her sitting up in a chair reading novels and the Jewish Post, her favourite newspaper.
During better times, she loved to attending the Eitz Chaim Synagogue for the Saturday morning and High Holiday services, her spiritual nourishment, until she could no longer drive. My mom was not a religious person but she loved to hear the Hebrew prayers and songs, and found comfort being part of her synagogue community.
In 2013 my father passed away and mom lost her soul mate. She found the will to move forward with her life and tried to enjoy as much as she could as her health began to decline. She was able to travel to Palm Springs for 6 weeks with her friend after selling her condo in Florida! During her last few years, when mobility was becoming increasingly more difficult for my Mom, she found solace in the internet and learned how to use email to keep in contact with her family and friends. Mom would spend her time listening to lectures, researching interesting facts about countries, religion, culture, science and history. She would take notes in an effort to learn and understand the world around her. She had such a curious mind.
My mother became the matriarch and the heart and soul of our family.
She always had a network of dear friends, many who are no longer here now. Your love and support is greatly appreciated, you know who you are. On Friday June 24, when we knew my mother’s time on this earth was coming to an end, I sat with her and was playing music on my IPad. Rabbi Rose dropped in to see my mom in the morning and he made the Mi Shebarach prayer, a Jewish blessing for the sick. In the late afternoon, while I was playing her favorite Klezmer music, she became alert, started smiling, and was moving one of her shoulders to the music. It was remarkable to see the power of music on my mother and experience this moment with her; it was so amazing that I called in a nurse to share this moment with me. On Saturday, June 25th, we knew that Mom was approaching the end of life. In the afternoon, I played her favourite song, which was also her father’s favorite song, Tumbalalikah and she peacefully took her last breath.
My mother gave me life, and I remained at her side until her life ended. Mom, you had a life well lived. Rest in Peace. You and dad will always be in our hearts. We love you.
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose
Thank you to the medical team at the Seven Oaks Hospital on the 5 th floor, unit 1, for taking good care of my mother in the last couple of months of her life. Thank you to Margarita from Jcfs, Patti from goat, Tania her home care coordinator, and the health care aids who supported my mom’s daily living so she could live as independently as possible.
Ron Riesenbach (son)
In Honour of My Mother – Ruth Riesenbach
A woman of valor–seek her out,
for she is to be valued above rubies.
Her family trusts her,
and they cannot fail to prosper.
All the days of her life
she is good to them.
She opens her hands to those in need and offers her help to the poor, the destitute, the lonely.
Adorned with strength and dignity,
she looks to the future with cheerful trust.
Her speech is wise,
and the law of kindness is on her lips.
Her husband, children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren, her sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews rise up to call her blessed.
The entire community likewise praises her:
‘Many women have done well,
but you surpass them all.’
Charm is deceptive and beauty short-lived, but a woman loyal to family, to the community, to Israel and to Yidishkyt has truly earned praise.
We give her honor for her life’s work of 89 years
her life proclaims her praise.
Josh Raizman (grandson)
Baba Ruthie’s eulogy, June 28, 2022 by Josh Raizman
There was momaleh, sometimes boychalach, other times tateleh, but most of the time we were the kinderlach. These were some of the endearing names Baba called us.
When I think back to memories of Baba I think of the 5 course Friday night shabbat dinners, main course always served with a gigantic bowl of salad and Golden Caesar dressing. I think of the never-ending Pesach table on Vanier, extending the full length of the house, seating 25 people and their 50 corresponding matzah balls. I think of ricotta cheese on bagels in the Florida condo kitchen. I think of milestone anniversary parties with balloons surrounding the colourful fruit platter. I think of countless birthday parties with Jeannie’s cake. And how could we forget the ear-jarring electric meat carving knife for slicing brisket at high holiday celebrations. Two things were constant. Freshly baked honey cake, and always being surrounded by her beloved grandchildren.
Baba had a fondness for times past, but also embraced modern ways and current affairs. Baba was just as likely to listen to her Yiddish folk music on the old cassette stereo player, tell captivating stories of her younger days through vintage black and white photos, cut clippings of hundreds of random recipes from newspapers and file them in a binder never to be seen again, stream her favourite Netflix series, research the origins and evolution of the universe on the internet, forward emails about political satire, and then join a family Zoom video call…all in one day! Though it was sometimes a struggle to help Baba find the unmute button on video calls, the volume of love and care for her grandchildren was always turned way up high.
Baba was always interested in what I was up to and where I was going. But, whenever I told Baba about my next outdoor adventure or my next sporting event, she would always be worried. She would say, “But Joshy, it’s too much. You should know better. You’re over doing it and going to hurt yourself. Come on, son, it’s not good for you.” I would then respond with, “But Baba, would you rather I just stay home and never do anything?” Her answer would be a resounding, “Yes”. I now understand that Baba wasn’t trying to hold me back. It was her caring and protective nature, and she wanted to know that I was safe, dry, and uninjured.
Baba’s memory will always live on. Now, I find myself calling my 1-year-old son, boychick, the same sort of endearing name Baba called me. I sometimes catch myself in the act saying those words. As if time is suddenly suspended into one condensed singular memory of my Baba, a smile quickly spreads across my face.
Alisa Raizman (granddauter)
When I think about my childhood, my baba Ruthie is one of the first things that come to my mind. I have never felt as loved and cherished as I did with my baba Ruthie.
Baba Ruthie was many things to me, but she was uniquely my friend. Not something many grandchildren can say about a grandparent. But we shared our experiences together while playing cards, shopping together, swimming in the pool, looking through old pictures, or eating lunch.
Baba Ruthie was a model for me, teaching me confidence, independence, encouraging me to be adventurous and to try new things – I remember when I was 14 baba suggested I try this new thing called “pilates”. I thought it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard and there was no way I was going to be seen doing pilates. Now, pilates is one of the most well-known forms of exercise in the world!
Baba Ruthie taught me not to care what people thought of me, but to do things that make me happy and to follow my instincts. When I was struggling to figure out direction in school, baba Ruthie encouraged me to take a chance and leave the program I was in because I wasn’t happy. Because of her, I am now in a career I love.
Baba Ruthie taught me to hold my head high and be confident in my skin – not something that came easy to an awkward 13 year old girl. But she always told me I was beautiful and perfect just as I was. She believed I was the best dancer in Winnipeg (not even close) and encouraged me to try out for major dance productions in Canada. I never made the cut but to her I was a star.
Baba Ruthie was a modern, confident woman. Ahead of her time. Looking back, I think Baba wanted to make sure I had the opportunities she wasn’t able to have as a woman. To travel, to get an education and to have success in a career. She was just too ahead of her time and the world wasn’t ready for Ruthie. I’m grateful to have been raised in an environment of strong and independent woman. I am who I am today because of baba Ruthie and I will keep her legacy alive in the way I continue to live my life and the way I raise my daughter.
Funeral Services for Ruth, June 28, 2022, Shaary Tzedeck Cemetery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Obituary
Donations In Ruth's Memory
Donations in Ruth's memory may be made to the Holocaust Education Centre (204) 477-7460 or to Winnipeg's Jewish Child and Family Service (204) 477 7430. Thank you.
Messages and Guest Book
Should you wish to send a private message to the family, please email Ruth's daughter, Adrian Raizman .