A celebration of life was held Sunday, December 10, in memory of Ruth Masters, a long-time activist, environmentalist, feminist, and military veteran.
Born in Comox, British Columbia, on May 7, 1920, Ruth passed away peacefully on November 7, 2017. The memorial service, held at The Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay, BC, was a standing-room only affair. Handmade protest signs were displayed on the walls, and Ruth’s famous red canoe was carried insider under a canopy of “hero spoons” that were held high by friends and family. Hero spoons, gifted large silver spoons, were Ruth’s way of showing her appreciation for people who helped others throughout her life.
Kind words were shared by Lorraine Dixon, Ruth’s Goddaughter, Donna Mitchell, Elder of K’omoks First Nation, Ronna Rae Leonard, a local MLA, as well as many other fellow activists, friends, and loved ones.
Memories of Ruth were shared not just at a podium, but through a video that highlighted clips of action she had taken to protect the environment and animals through the years. In one clip, Ruth was seen disrupting a bear hunt on Vancouver Island, blowing a whistle and throwing rocks to scare away a bear who was about to be shot. Other clips showed her involvement in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, as well as her acts of protest to protect forests and parks.
A gift of 15 acres of her property to be used as a wildlife corridor in 2004 stood out as a major accomplishment. The acreage was given to the Comox-Strathcona Regional District in perpetuity, and as part of the agreement, no buildings, garbage cans, or parking lots are permitted to be built on these lands.
The Fur-Bearers will remember Ruth fondly as a compassionate, gutsy activist, who cared deeply for people, the environment, and animals. Her legacy gift to The Fur-Bearers will ensure that her memory, and the passion she had for what The Fur-Bearers stands for, will live into the future.