Bad news! I lost my earthly future on the early morning of Saturday, August 17th in Victoria with my loving family at my side. It was the day following my 63rd birthday. I was hoping for a better party… I was blessed throughout my life by tremendous support from my awesome husband of 41 years, Dan; my loving daughter, Stephanie (Brian) Kruger and my perfect little grandsons, Xavier and Felix Kruger; as well as my loving son, Jason. Also, my devoted brothers and sisters-in-law, Eric (Elma) Sommerfeld of Surrey and Ralph (Tanis) Sommerfeld of Victoria. Extended family always sent love, encouragement and support – and a wide circle of friends, near and far, rallied to bring me peace and comfort. I would not have made it this far without each one of you. Thank you.

Born in Regina on August 16, 1956 to my proud parents Rein and Ella Sommerfeld (deceased), I attended Luther College, Balfour Technical School and University of Regina classes. The University Secretary’s Office at U of R and the Registration Department at SIAST in Moose Jaw employed me where I met some lifelong friends.

Following our marriage in Regina in 1978 and my move to Moose Jaw, the Canadian Armed Forces subsequently moved us to Cold Lake, Baden (West Germany), Ottawa, Toronto, back to Moose Jaw and finally to Winnipeg. We met many wonderful friends at every stop along the way. When Dan retired from the military, our family of four moved to Hong Kong. Four years later in 1997, we settled in Victoria and loved living in Super Natural British Columbia for the last 22 years.

My children and grandchildren have brought countless blessings into my life and I have tried to nurture them in every way I could. Dan and I have been so fortunate to visit many provinces and countries around the world and learned from all of them. Reading has been my favourite hobby throughout my life and I am proud to have volunteered at the annual Times Colonist Book Sale for 15 years straight. One year, it was two days after 29 rounds of radiation; another, it was the day of chemo treatment number 18. It is amazing what willpower and the love of family and friends can do. Being home secretary, loving grandchildren, daily walks, sewing, proofreading, accounting, family ancestry, audio, video and photo archivist, canvassing for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, yard work and entertaining kept me very busy. And then there were those wonderful holidays to faraway places.

Eternal, sincere and heartfelt gratitude to everyone – my family, friends, wonderful neighbors and so many dedicated doctors who gave me the gift of life and hope against daunting odds – Drs. Richard Kennedy, Anthony Della Siega, Vanessa Bernstein, Alison Ross, Michael Perchinsky, Reg Smith, Jan Lim, David Shanks, Natasha Montroy (ND) and many others at the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General Hospitals. Thank you to all of the wonderful nurses and medical technicians at the BC Cancer Clinic and both hospitals for your compassion and support. I was so grateful for your dedication with every visit. We had a huge, strong team.

Special hugs to Gillian, Jan, Sheila, Lorraine, LaVerne, Sharon, Willa, Tilly, Judi, Sandy, Bev, Jane, Susan, Val, Cindy and The Gifters. Keep laughing. It is the best medicine of all…

I wanted one more day. Hopefully, one day, there will be more with every one of you. I’m headed to the big library in the sky comforted by wonderful memories of a blessed life. My love to you all; I shall be watching from above. And so it is written… Ruth

The Fallen Limb

A limb has fallen from the family tree.

I keep on hearing a voice that says “Grieve not for me.”

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.

The good life I lived while I was strong.

Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you.

Keep smiling and the sun will shine through.

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest.

Remember all, how I truly was blessed.

Continue traditions, no matter how small.

Go on with your life, don’t worry about falls.

I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin.

Until the day comes we’re together again.

                                          Author Unknown

A funeral service will be held on Monday, September 30th, 1:30 PM, at Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Avenue. Following the service and interment at the Royal Oak Burial Park, a reception will be held in the Sequoia Centre at McCall Gardens, 4665 Falaise Drive, commencing at 3:15 PM.  All are welcome to attend to celebrate Ruth’s life with our family.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the BC Cancer Clinic or charity of your choice would be appreciated.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Mary & Jack Waters

    I am writing as the wife of an Air Force colleague of Dan’s. My husband, Jack, like Dan, flew as an Air Display pilot. With this in mind, I would like to relay to the Dempsey family and friends a sentiment that will evoke thoughts of a uniquely important aspect of Ruth’s legacy, that of her fundamental contribution as the spouse of a pilot who embraced the challenge of Aerobatic Demonstration. In a letter received by me posthumously, Jack’s mother penned “you allowed him to spread his wings”. These brief words are so relative to Ruth’s long and loving support of Dan that I am sure that they will resonate in memories of her life.

    Per Ardua ad Astra , Mary and Jack Waters, Orléans , Ontario

  • Jeff Schmidt

    We send our condolences as we fondly remember Ruth. Such good times we had as families who connected through Luther College. Thinking of all of you during this difficult time. Sincerely Jeff and Donna Schmidt Courtenay, BC

  • Heather Haatvedt (née Stenerson)

    Eric and Ralph,

    I read Ruth’s obituary with awe. It is clear that her journey with cancer was a long one with both highs and lows yet she continued to focus on the joys of life. What an amazing gift!

    I have spent some time reflecting on when our lives intersected – the play ground at Benson, the community we all lived in, the halls of Luther. All of those memories involve Ruth’s smile.

    Although Mom would never admit that she had any favourites, she always had a special place in her heart for the Sommerfeld ‘kids’ and your family.

    A life too short but one well lived.

    I will be thinking of you as you adjust to the loss of your sister.


  • Diane Campbell

    Thinking of all family and friends as you hold close your love for Ruth and celebrate her life with you. May all your wonderful memories bring you comfort in your grief.
    Diane Campbell

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