Cover photo for Ruth (Evelyn) Mcphail's Obituary
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1932 Ruth 2022

Ruth (Evelyn) Mcphail

May 20, 1932 — December 30, 2022

Garden Chapel

Evelyn Ruth Bonham McPhail left us suddenly on Friday afternoon on December 30th, 2022.  The day before, with her hair freshly set, Ruth sat in a beautiful atrium filled with light, a huge Christmas tree beautifully decorated with large gold bells and looked over her wedding pictures while receiving compliments on her beauty as a bride, her wedding attendants, and particularly, her beloved niece Lynn.  On the same day, she had also gone back over all the Christmas cards that she had received over the season.

Happily, and at the last minute, Ruth spent two days at home with Margaret and Glen for Christmas. She stayed up very late on December 24th, listening and watching her favourite musicians as they played her favourite Christmas songs and hymns.

Ruth was the much beloved daughter of Sanford Bonham and Evelyn Betzner Bonham. She grew up on Greenwood Farm on Jerseyville  Road, Ancaster, Ontario. Her father, Sanford called her “Girlie” and her grandfather Abraham Lincoln Bonham taught her to read before she started school.

At age 12, she started high school in Hamilton at the Westdale where she met her very dear and lifelong friend Esther Manley Harding also aged 12. Going to high school in Hamilton required taking the bus which travelled between Brantford and Hamilton.  Often, Ruth would have to stand for the entire journey.

After high school, Ruth worked as a stenographer until her marriage to Ivan McPhail on September 3, 1955. They had met through Junior Farmers and the Agricultural Representative, Mr. Merritt who was renowned for his matchmaking. He would simply instruct the young bachelors to give a young lady a ride home from a dance or another event which lead to many successful unions.

Once settled as a young bride on the McPhail Family farm in Beverly Township. Ruth told of how her dear mother-in-law Ethel Patterson McPhail and father-in-law John Alexander McPhail took her under their wings with wisdom, love and guidance. She attended the farmers market with her in-laws and sold eggs, preserves and baking for the first few years of her marriage.

Ruth became an avid gardener and maker of jams, and many other canning products. Right up though 2016, Ivan and Ruth kept a rather large garden. She was also an expert seamstress and famous for her pies at church events such as the Scotch Supper.

Ruth also taught 4H and was a member of the WMS and the Kirkwall Valens Institute.

Ruth always thought of others and sent countless letters, cards, and notes to generations of friends, family, acquaintances, and neighbours and these brought cheer, encouragement and guidance.  She was a very well-loved woman and known as one of the nicest people wherever she went. She never had an unkind word for anyone.

Ruth and Ivan were highly active members of Kirkwall Presbyterian Church and the Rockton Fair Agricultural Society where, Ruth had been the President of the Women’s division.

After, Ivan died in March 2017, Ruth never complained or gave up on life. When life became more difficult, she showed bravery, resolve and faith. She had true mental strength and had the ability to take on new responsibilities and information with determination.

Once her health became more complex in July 2019, she asked her daughter Margaret Bonham McPhail and her son-in-law Glen Doherty to take care of her. Soon after, she moved to Ottawa and lived with them until October 20th, 2022, when she became a resident of Carleton Lodge situated on the Rideau River in Ottawa.

During the last months of her life, she enjoyed singing along to hymns on YouTube and watching her favourite older movies such as the Sound of Music, Mrs. Miniver and An Affair to Remember.

One of the most important things to know about Ruth was her sterling character. Ivan and Ruth lived guided by their faith, honesty and integrity. Both believed that it was important to not judge another person or their circumstances. Ruth would always look at the circumstances of another person or family with compassion and understanding. Ivan and Ruth were very circumspect in their belief that one should never gossip about their own family affairs or those of others. They made it a firm rule to never interfere, judge or comment on the affairs of members of their extended family or friends.

Ruth was the beloved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great-grandmother (Gee-gee) to the following:

Joan McPhail, Elise Purdy and Eric Purdy.

Margaret McPhail, Glen Doherty and John-Michael McPhail-Doherty, Chelsea Moreland and their daughter Charlotte.  As well as Lian McPhail-Doherty and Syrena Mak

Beloved mother of Louise McPhail (Brad). Proud Grandmother to Tara Collins (Brian), Alyssa Ross (Ryan) Jeff Grimwood (Laura), Steve Grimwood, Matt Grimwood (Stephanie), Mike Grimwood (Sarah) Great-Grandmother to Sophia and Connor Collins, Ben, Brooke, Peri, Jack. Skylar, Ariah Grimwood, Klara Grimwood-Smith and Mina Smith.

John and Susan McPhail and their family including Candice and Jimmy Phimsavanh and their children Leo and Ava. Grandsons Jordan and Josh Kitchen and Michael McPhail and granddaughter Sarah McPhail.

Ruth will be greatly missed by her dear sister Marion Brooks Huycke and her children Lynn Mannen, Gary and Dianna Brooks as well as Grant and Michelle Brooks.  Their devotion, love and support carried Ruth, Margaret and Glen through the last few years.

Ruth was also sister-in-law to Ivan’s two beloved sisters Hazel Bailey and Marjorie Calder and aunt to their many family members.

A very, very special thank you to Team Ottawa who looked out for Ruth, her interests, and her well-being.

Dawn McCarty Fenton (her very loving Quebec caregiver for over two years)

Dr. Joy Weisbloom and staff.

Michael Henley and Heather Watson

Baker Tilly

Royal Dominion Securities: Wendy Tomkins and Heather Orton

LHIN team of Champlain: Kathryn Kozak

Everyone at Carleton Lodge LTC

Donations may be given to Kirkwall Presbyterian Church

C/O David Jamieson,

2061 Concession 8 West

Cambridge, Ontario.  N1R 5S2

Visitation will be held at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, 1606 Fisher Ave, Ottawa on Sunday, January 8, 2023, from 1:30 p.m. until the time of service at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow. Interment will be held in the Spring in Cambridge, Ontario.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth (Evelyn) Mcphail, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, January 8, 2023

1:30 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Mark's Anglican Church (Ottawa)

, Ottawa, ON K2C 1X6

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Memorial Service

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Mark's Anglican Church (Ottawa)

, Ottawa, ON K2C 1X6

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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