MOGENSON, Ruth - Mary Ruth Mogenson, nee Wensley passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on November 19, 2020 at Mount Hope Centre for Long-Term Care in London, Ontario.
Born in Wiseton, Saskatchewan, to Lytton and Mary (McIvor) Wensley, Ruth grew up on a farm during the Depression years of the “dirty thirties.” The youngest of four children, she demonstrated an aptitude for caring for others from an early age, which led her to graduate as a Registered Nurse from Saskatoon City Hospital in 1953, a career which she loved. Her marriage to Gordon Mogenson in 1954 led her to London, Ontario in 1965, the year that Gordon began his career at the University of Western Ontario as a professor in the Physiology Department, and later as Dean of Graduate Studies.
Outgoing and endowed with a great zest for living, Ruth was in many ways larger than life. In addition to her dedicated work as a nurse at Victoria Hospital, she was very much involved in the life of her faith community. In the early years at First St. Andrew’s United Church, she designed and sewed the costumes for children’s opera productions of Noah’s Flood, The Happy Prince, and The Selfish Giant. Later, at Metropolitan United Church, where she sang in the choir for many years, she also created costumes (once even a large Camel!) for use in Christmas pageants. Volunteer work was also a life-long passion. She headed up the UNICEF office in London for some years, was involved in resettlement of refugees, promoted Alpha groups in the city, and led Bible studies, with marvelous luncheons, out of her home. Ruth will also be remembered as a great hostess. For many years she supported her husband in entertaining visiting professors in their home, as well as hosting the yearly Physiology Department Picnic at their cottage in Grand Bend. Overflowing with Ruth’s hospitality, the cottage was also a place of fellowship and recreation for family and friends over the years. After Gordon’s death, Ruth began taking in university students as boarders, creating for them (many of whom were international students) a home away from home. Also to be mentioned is the very active and interested role Ruth took in the lives of her children and grandchildren, supporting them in their various pursuits, be it by sewing Halloween costumes, decorating elaborate birthday cakes, producing marionette shows in her garage (with homemade marionettes), teaching them to play Canasta, or by chauffeuring them to their various activities and events.
Through all her many activities and pursuits, Ruth’s strong Christian faith and generous spirit were influential in the lives of those with whom she came in contact. Many “grandchildren” (biological and honorary) were serenaded to sleep as she sang a favorite benediction: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Ruth’s creativity and love of music were expressed in a variety of ways throughout the years. Her gifts as an oral storyteller can be enjoyed again in her memoir, Take My Hands (available at Amazon Books¬¬¬¬).
Left to honour Ruth’s memory are her children, Leslie (Les) Damude and Greg (Rita) Mogenson, her grandchildren Jeremiah (Sherri), Andrew, Rachel (Dylan), Aaron (Gabriela) and Emily (Andrew); seven great-grandchildren (Alliyah, Kynlee, Leila, Kaida, Jayden, Anna and Olivia), as well as many nephews, nieces, and other relatives. Ruth was preceded in her death by her parents, her husband Gordon (in 1991), and siblings Philip Wensley, Frances Williamson, and Roy Wensley.
The family would like to express gratitude to the staff at Mount Hope who cared for Ruth for the past four years. As well, a special thanks to Berniece Dellow, Linda and Bob Kline, Michael and Jane Wu, Carol Roch, and all the other friends and relatives who supported her during her final years.
Visitation by appointment at Harris Funeral Home on Tuesday, November 24 from 2-4 pm; RSVP to Harris Funeral Home, 519-433-7253. A private celebration of her life will follow. Interment Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Donations in honour of Ruth may be made to The London Food Bank.
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