Recent History – 1999
Feb. 17, 1999
Patsy Nagel, Contributing Writer
To commemorate Women’s Institute Week, February 14 to 20, members of the Peace River Women’s Institutes would like to share Ruth’s story with everyone. Thank you to Winnie Williams, Jean Groat, Kathy Weingart and Ruth’s family for assembling the information.
Ruth was born on August 10, 1918, at home in Sunnyslope, Alberta. She and her family lived for three years in Dallas, Oregon in the early 20’s but moved back to Sunnyslope and then to Banff.
In 1928 they moved to Grande Prairie where they lived for three years before moving to this area. In 1931 Ruth and her sister, Alamite, with their Dad, Peter Derkson, moved to Sunset Prairie in a 1928 Chevrolet one ton truck. They built a house and then Ruth’s mother, Susie Derkson and the two younger children, Conrad and Earl, came to join them at the homestead.
Ruth went to school in the one room log school house which is still standing today. There were eight grades and one teacher. The school was right on the corner next to their property. Ruth completed her education at grade eight as that was as far as most children could go in those days.
After finishing her schooling, Ruth went to Grande Prairie to work. Here she met her future husband, Roy Potter. They were married and raised a family of five children, two girls and three boys. The three eldest, Linton, Darlene and Bruce were born in Grande Prairie, and Joyce and Terry were born in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dawson Creek.
Ruth is a hard working and dedicated community member. She worked for the Kiskatinaw Fall Fair for many years. Besides working in several capacities for the fair, Ruth also submitted many prize winning entries. She has many interests which include Women’s Institute projects, judging at the fairs, sewing, gardening, feeding her feathered friends, and raising beautiful flowers.
Ruth has a large extended family which includes 10 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren with another on the way. She has a great love for her grandchildren, making things for them and teaching them hobbies and skills. She also taught them baking and spends as many hours with them as she can, never tiring of their company.
Ruth is a member of the South Peace Horticulture Society, and helps every year taking entries in the Dawson Creek Fall Fair. She holds a horticulture judging certificate and has helped with judging at the local competitions. Ruth is a member of the Peace Mission Chapel and sings in their choir. Her lovely singing voice has also been heard in the Kiwanis Choir.
Ruth joined the Sunset Prairie Women’s Institute in 1935 and was one of the youngest members. She dropped her membership in 1937 but rejoined in 1942. She has held many positions in her branch and has served as delegate to district and provincial conventions. She attended district board meetings on behalf of her branch and they honoured her with a Life Membership.
Ruth was also recognized by the district with a Service Pin. She sent district news to the Provincial newsletter very faithfully for many years. Ruth feels that Women’s Institute has given her confidence to speak for herself and express her feelings about important issues.
I was very sorry to hear that Ruth had suffered a stroke shortly after Christmas and is currently in the Dawson Creek Hospital. I’m sure all of her Women’s Institute friends and her many other friends wish her a speedy recovery.
Members of the Sunset Prairie Women’s Institute would like to leave you with some food for thought which reminds them of Women’s Institutes. “You cannot do a kindness too soon, because you never know how soon it will be too late”.
The Peace River District will hold its annual Adelaide Hoodless Tea and bazaar and bake sale, Saturday, February 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Senior Citizen’s Hall in Dawson Creek. Entry will be a donation for the food bank so come out and meet many of our Women’s Institute members.
Another Women’s Institute Week activity is the annual smorgasbord held each year in the Progress Hall sponsored by Bon Accord Women’s Institute. It is usually very popular so you need to be on time. Supper is served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sunday February 21. Hope to see you there.