b.11 Mar 1919 Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
d.4 Apr 2007 Central Saanich, Capital, British Columbia, Canada
m. 29 Jun 1912
Facts and Events
Memories of my Mom - a personal tribute
Ruth Bellamy Davies, was my role model, my mentor, my best friend, and luckily for me, she was my Mom. Mom was a talented singer, an athlete, an enthusiastic gardener, a lover of the outdoors, devoted wife, and loving mother.
My first memories are of our home on Spring Road where we moved when I was only one year old. Mom loved to garden and through the years she created rock gardens and rock walls around the house and driveway, moving most of the large boulders herself.
In my day, most mothers stayed home to look after the children but Mom worked in an office most of the time I was growing up. Saturdays were spent doing laundry, changing beds, and doing the weekly housework so Sunday would be free for family activities.
Mom had a beautiful soprano voice and was trained in classical music. I remember listening to her practice operatic pieces from sheet music but she was reluctant to sing in public.
My parents had a good and loving marriage and most of their social life involved the family while we were growing up. In spite of the close ties to the family, they did not suffer when the nest became empty.
Mom had never cycled, sailed, canoed, or swum anything other than sidestroke until the kids left home. Dad built a camper for their pickup and that camper traveled many thousands of miles including a trip to Expo 67 in Montreal and a trip across Canada the first summer they were retired.
Dad built a 20-foot plywood sailboat about 1969. Mom and Dad were totally hooked on sailing for a few years and we all had to learn the vernacular they had learned at their seamanship and navigation courses. I remember after one evening of learning to tie knots, my mother appeared with one tooth missing from her dentures. She had always cut the thread while sewing with her teeth, she soon learned not to do the same with rope!
Some time around the beginning of the 1970s Mom retired from working in an office started working part time in Dad's shoe-repair shop. She replaced zippers and did other repairs to purses and served the customers. Every day they would close the shop for a half-hour lunch and drive down to Clover Point to eat and enjoy the view.
The more flexible hours enabled Mom to join me at the Crystal Pool where we took swimming lessons together. Some of my best memories of Mom are from this period. After swimming we had lunch together and shopped until it was time to pick up my kids from school. During this time my sons, Tom and Dennis, took up competitive swimming and their coach, Jock Noble, started a masters' swimming program in Victoria. Jock encouraged us to join the masters program so he could have three generations of our family under his wing.
The other advantage to Mom's career change was that my parents could enjoy two-day weekends together. Dad closed his shop on Mondays and you could bet that on a summer weekend they were either in the camper or the boat.
The only interruption to this active lifestyle of the 70s was Mom's accident. She never had a fear of heights, so when it was time to replace their roof there was no question that they would do it themselves. Dad was careful to have lifelines just in case one of them should slip but for some reason Mom's line wasn't attached to the house that one time. She leaned back on the rope to jump from part of the roof to another and she fell backward off the roof and landed on the grass. She was lucky to have enough momentum to fall far enough from the house to clear the sidewalk and concrete wall. She was pretty shaken up and the ambulance took her to hospital where she spent a few days in observation. Although the doctors could find no major injuries, Mom suffered for many years with pain if she stood for too long a period.
I think life really began for my parents when they retired in 1979. The boat was sold soon after retirement and after their trip to Newfoundland with Auntie Ev and Vic in the summer and fall of 1979, the truck and camper were traded in for a used motor home. I was concerned when I heard they were going to spend their winters in Arizona that they would just go down there and vegetate. Boy, was I wrong! They left Victoria right after New Years with their bikes on the back of the motor home and the canoe on top and they returned in the middle of March looking tanned, fit, and happy. They made many friends on their trips south and I had the pleasure of meeting many of them when they visited Victoria. It was like a large international family.Mom and Dad continued to travel south until 1989, when the motor home got traded in for an old camper van. It would have been about that time that Mom heard from her old swim coach, Jock Noble. Jock was putting together a team to compete in the first every BC Senior Games. That team was the start of the Crystal Silver Streaks Swim Club. Mom was in all but one of the BC Senior Games until 2001, several World Senior Games in St. Georges, Utah, B.C. Masters Championships, and the Canadian Masters Championships when it was held in Victoria. For the year 1999, she held nine Canadian records in the 80-84 age group and was in the FINA top-ten world rankings for 50, 100, and 200 metre breaststroke, 50 metre butterfly, and 200 metre Individual Medley. Mom missed the 1998 B.C. Senior games because she came down with shingles the month before and the rash and pain lasted for several months. One of my greatest thrills was at the 1990 BC Senior Games in the Comox Valley, when as meet manager for the swimming competition, I was able to present my mother with a gold medal.
It came time to sell the family home of forty-five years and move closer in. They moved to their townhouse on Wilcox Terrace in December 1990 but Mom missed her garden and she felt she wasn't getting enough exercise without having to climb the stairs.
Mom and Dad continued to be active with the swimming and cycling clubs and these groups formed a large part of their social life with birthday parties and Christmas parties and competitions, they were seldom home. It was so gratifying to see many of these friends at the 60th anniversary party held for Mom and Dad on January 2, 1999. It was a great party and my parents really appreciated the chance to see so many of their friends and relatives.
In the year 2000, she was over eighty-one years old and still swimming two or three times a week and cycling with Dad every Wednesday and Sunday when weather permitted. Life was good until Mom's memory started failing, she no longer could compete in swimming, she lost her driver's license, and could no longer play cards. When Dad lost his license in 2002, they were no longer able to get out on their bikes or go to the pool.
My parents were married for over 65 years and managed to stay in their own home until Dad passed away in April 2004 after a short illness. Mom lost what little memory she had left when Dad became sick and did not seem to grasp the concept that he had died. At Dad's service, one of his favourite songs by Sarah Brightman was being played and Mom started singing along in the beautiful soprano voice that I hadn't heard for a long time. She stopped when she saw me in tears and asked why I was crying.
Dad was dreading the day that Mom would not know him and I am thankful that he was spared the anguish of watching her though her last few years. Mom gradually drifted away from us, first mentally then physically, but she seemed to be at peace whenever I visited her.