Ruth Harriet Kreissl
August 20, 1917- August, 15, 2014.
Born to first generation immigrants from Norway in a sod hut on the family homestead near Plentywood, Montana, Ruth enjoyed an exciting life rich in history, adventure, family, humor, and mostly love.
At nearly 97, after receiving last rites with her children around her, she passed away quietly at Lady Minto Hospital on Salt Spring Island, BC after a quick but sharp downturn in health. Yes, she was predeceased by her parents, Ole and Ida, and two much older brothers, Overla and Boyd. After all, if they were alive, we would all be reading about what great medical miracles they are somewhere on an internet site instead of reading this obituary. Ruth is also predeceased by her beloved husband, Dr. Leonard John Kreissl, MD, who passed away in 1984, after 38 years of marriage. Mom leaves behind four much loved children: Mary Ellen (Ken) Warner of West Vancouver, BC; Leonard John “Jay” (Maureen) Kreissl of Seattle, WA; Laura Jean, Kreissl of Salt Spring Island, BC; and Teresa Alice “Terry” (Warren) Herzog of Broomfield, CO; and two grandchildren: Rachel Kearney Kreissl (Derek Tran) of Washington, DC and Lima, Peru; and Peter Kreissl of Seattle, WA.
Ruth spent her childhood years mostly in Montana, Chicago, and in the Minneapolis-St. Paul areas of the United States. Her parents struggled hard throughout the great depression to not only keep the family housed and fed but also to insure that their children benefited from a higher education as they had done. Ruth graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1939. She trained as an X-ray and medical technician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and then worked throughout the 1940s in Grand Forks, ND, on US Army bases in Skagway and Fairbanks, AK during WWII, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Milwaukee, WI, and at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, TX before devoting many years of her life to raising their children in Dallas, TX; Milwaukee, WI; and eventually in Santa Rosa, CA with many summers, starting in 1962, on Salt Spring Island. She and Dad permanently immigrated to Canada and particularly to Salt Spring in 1971.
While raising the children, Ruth was an active member and often an officer of the Hospital Auxiliary, Blood Bank, Red Cross, Mothers’ Club at the grammar schools, PTA, Catholic Women’s group, helper at camp fire girls and boy scouts. Considering that most of the neighborhood children seemed to congregate at the Kreissl home and Mom still managed to keep the house and yard tidy, her patience and endurance became legendary.
On Salt Spring, Mom was active as a volunteer with many organizations including the Red Cross, SS Library, Lady Minto Thrift Shop, Golden Hands, SPCA, Legion, Catholic Women’s League, and as a teaching (reading) assistant at the grammar schools.
Throughout the years, Ruth and her family had a succession of pets. Mom endured some of the animals but was fond of or loved many others. In the last few decades Ruth could often be found walking one or two of her dogs at Mouat Park or on quieter roads around the island. She liked to remind her children at times that the pets were sometimes her “preferred” children as they hadn’t been nearly as expensive or time-consuming to educate, always knew where their coats were, didn’t squabble as much as youngsters, and were always happy when she called them.
Mom was blessed with good health throughout most of her life. It was only in the last few years that failing hearing, eyesight, and dementia seemed to rob her of some of the quality of her life. However, none of those could reduce her feistiness, or love of family and friends. We are so happy that Mom is in a better place but she will always be missed. Lawrence Welk has lost another fan.
Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 11 AM at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 135 Drake Road, Ganges, Salt Spring Island, BC with Father Ian Stuart officiating. A reception will follow at the church. Burial will be at Central Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the BC SPCA, SSI branch or the charity of your choice.