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Ruth Breckman

BRECKMAN, Ruth - Obituary Photo.jpg



April 24, 1933 – October 28, 2021

The family of Ruth Breckman sadly shares the news of her death, October 28, 2021 at Oakview Place.


Celebrating her life are her beloved husband of 67 years, Kris Breckman, and four children, Shannon Breckman (Andy Jowett), Cathy Breckman (Kelly Barkman), David Breckman (Gillian), Warren Breckman (Cordula Grewe).


Ruth will also be dearly missed by her 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, Brendan (Ellen and their son Max), Murray, and Nicole Jowett; Stephen (Chloe and their daughters Annika and Zenova), David, Janna (Matt) , and Michael (Matt) Barkman; Kristopher (and his daughter Nahlee), Stephen, Trevor (Alida), and Kevin Breckman; and Conrad, Clara, and Julian Breckman.  Ruth was very close to the extended family including Lavina Allan, Marg and Reg Sanderson, Cam and Jeri Breckman, and her many nephews and nieces in Winnipeg and across the country.


On April 24, 1933 in Portage la Prairie, Florence and George Hambley welcomed their only daughter, Ruth, to the family circle, joining brothers Grant and Barry (who pre-deceased Ruth). As the daughter of a United Church minister Ruth lived in various small Manitoba towns which contributed to her gracious ability to make new friends in any circumstance. 


Ruth attended United College for her degree in Education and a BA with a major in Literature.  She was an excellent student and participated enthusiastically in university life.  One summer job took her to the town of Oak Point where Kris (also an education student) was home for the summer working on the family farm.  Romance ensued and the two never looked back.  They graduated together and were married in 1954.  Ruth’s education career was temporarily interrupted (for 12 years) with raising four children.  She took on her new role as mom with the same verve she approached everything and took the lead in raising “the kids”. 


As a teacher, Ruth valued the academic side of learning but also gave her students wonderful opportunities for other life experiences, such as school plays (writing some herself to make sure all students had a part), camping trips, and running a school “store”.  She was also active on various MTS and professional committees during her 20 years teaching in St. James School Division.


Ruth had a passion for social justice issues throughout her life.  In the 60’s she was an active participant in the “Voice of Women” and the peace movement (participating in marches and rallies with kids in tow), and other efforts at peace including learning “Esperanto”.   During the Cold War, she and Kris organized trips to China and to the USSR for groups of Winnipeg teachers to meet educators from those countries and foster understanding.  They also worked with teachers in the Caribbean through the International Development Agency and assisted with hosting many refugees/ newcomers to Winnipeg.  Ruth was also very active in the Unitarian Church, on the social justice committee and committees charged with caring for the place.  She thoroughly enjoyed the many wonderful people she met through the church.


Ruth was never shy to voice her opinions.  We would often wake up to her voice on the radio, calling to weigh in on the issue of the day, or open the Free Press to a Letter to the Editor penned by Ruth.  As a mom and grandma, though, she was always cautious about giving advice and rarely criticized or pushed her thoughts on us. 


Ruth had a great sense of humour and rarely missed an opportunity for a bad pun, a humorous take on a situation, off-colour joke, silly parody song or poem – she loved a giggle.  She orchestrated many elaborate and very funny practical jokes, and usually enjoyed the revenge that would ensue. 


There was never a dull moment in Ruth’s life.  She was wonderfully creative.  We treasure her beautiful water colour and oil paintings and stained glass works.  Grandchildren enjoyed pajamas sewn by Grandma every Christmas (sometimes with matching PJs for their teddy bears), and lovely knit sweaters.  She played the piano well. She loved her garden.  Ruth was an amazing cook and hostess.  She was quite ambitious on this front, often organizing large fundraising dinners or big family gatherings.  She also played a mean (but fun) game of Scrabble and enjoyed her many bridge groups. 


The cottage at Jessica Lake was a favourite spot for Ruth and she thrived on the happy family times there.  She and Kris shared a sense of adventure and had many amazing travels throughout the world. 


Ruth’s health deteriorated over the last few years and she faced and overcame so many different challenges she made the “cat with nine lives” look unlucky.  Throughout these times, her strong, determined spirit shone through.  Ruth never appreciated euphemisms and wasn’t hesitant to talk about dying rather than “passing”.  But we’ll turn to her love of bridge and say “she didn’t pass; she just bid no trump.”  The family would like to thank Dr. Heather Frame for her years of care for Ruth, Dr. Yatish Kotecha and the very caring and competent staff at Oakview Place Personal Care Home.  In lieu of flowers the family encourages a donation to a charity of choice, in the spirit of peace and justice.


A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00, Monday November 8, 2021 at the Unitarian Church, 603 Wellington Crescent.  Due to COVID restrictions, guests will be asked for proof of vaccination and are asked to RSVP to ensure we are not exceeding occupancy limitations. Those wishing to attend should CLICK HERE to register.


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

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