Dr. Margaret “Ruth” Anne Dwyer (nee Mathies) was an individuality like no other. Determined and loving, she lived her life always moving forward with new passions and curiosity. She married the love of her life, stressed that family is everything, and emphasized the importance of education and knowledge to anyone who would listen. She was an accomplished artist, professor, video producer, academic and mother who will be incredibly missed by all her friends and family. Ruth loved dinnertime political discussions and considered Meet the Press as her Church. There are, however, no broad strokes to properly describe who Ruth Dwyer was. Rather, she was an experience that will not soon be forgot.
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Ruth had a tenacity and drive to excel at whatever she set her mind to. She chose an elective course during her U of T Art History days, to fit her train schedule, that introduced her to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. A constant effervescence of discovery led her down a rabbit hole of research and world travel, leading to accomplishing her dream of researching with Harvard. She had a beautiful and quirky mind that challenged authority. She took every chance to rebel when someone told her she couldn’t do something. At the same time, she loved the ceremony of ball gowns at Christmastime and attending the Toronto Film Festival every year. Arts and Science tickled her daily. She lived a life of happiness and willed her dreams to come true.
It was on Thanksgiving of 2018 that Ruth found out she was going to be a grandmother. Her joy was uncontainable. When her grandson Robert was born, she was at the hospital with balloons, canvases and paints. She held him and guided his 6-hour-old green hands and blue feet across two canvases, one for her and one for him. Her life was a series of offbeat experiences like these, concocted with fervor, typically met by others with apprehension, and executed with a warmth and wonder that let everyone understand who she really was and why life was so damn good.
Ruth married Daniel on December 10, 1970 in a small ceremony in Hamilton. They upset all of their friends by not inviting anyone, had a celebratory dinner, then promptly left for their skiing honeymoon. Ruth and Dan had a collective radiance that so many people wanted to be around; a couple that had it all understood, figured out, and knew how to get the most out of life. After about 14 years and a lot of living, Ruth and Dan had their son Michael, who became the new happy chapter of their lives. Ruth went to every sports game, concert and event that Michael was part of growing up. She loved her family with everything she had, and put the same determination that she put into her work into making everything good for them
Ruth and her sister Sandra were often mistaken for each other. Neighbours and passers-by would constantly ask Ruth how Ruth was doing, and they usually just rolled with it, getting to be each other for a short conversation at a time. They were born three years apart in Leamington. They were very close, growing up together as rock and roll was taking over the western world, and through the years spent a lot of time together travelling and cooking. They just recently lost their mother, Helen, who turned 100 years old in early March.
When Ruth got her small airplane, a Piper Cherokee, she started flying to school in Toronto from Waterdown. She was an avid golfer, played at Hamilton Golf and Country Club, and framed the letter sent to her when she committed the egregious violation of wearing golf sandals. She earned her PhD in film studies from U of T, learning under Czech icon Josef Skvorecky, and regularly jumped the lines during her decades attending the Toronto International Film Festival. Ruth traded penny stocks and commodities, bird watched with some of the biggest names in the game, won awards from the Ancaster Horticultural Society and Bloody Words Mystery Writing Conference. She emailed people articles from the four corners of the internet at all hours, was a staunch moon landing skeptic, and let you know that when things made sense that 2 + 2 sometimes did actually equal 4.
As her good friend and Michael’s godfather put it, Ruth was predictably unpredictable. She kept you on your toes, and she challenged just about everything she could. She chose her words very carefully, not even considering that her body language usually revealed what she was actually thinking. Ruth was absolutely her own self, never conforming to anything unless she could be her own recognizable self. She got what she wanted out of life, and it feels like it was decades too soon for Ruth’s fire to be put out. Her feather earrings, straw hats, and whatever trend was coming next will be missed.
Ruth passed away suddenly on 16 June in Toronto. 6 and 16 were important numbers for her, so she would call this date auspicious. She is survived by everyone she loved and everyone who loved her. Ruth's remains will be interred next to Dan's at Holy Sepulchure during a private ceremony. A larger celebration of life will occur when possible. In lieu of any flowers, donations in her honour can be made to the Neighbour to Neighbour Food Bank (www.n2ncentre.com) in Hamilton, a charity she helped with for many years while living in Ancaster. Online Condolences through www.dermodys.com