Ruth Amy New (Gillis)

April 13, 2017 5 Condolences Print Obituary

December 11, 1928 – April 9, 2017

Ruth passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, April 9th, surrounded by her loving daughters Cathy Jones and Dianne New. She was predeceased by husband John New and daughter Barbara Lindberg, and is survived by grandchildren Valerie and Erin Jones; Kelsey, Chris, and Justin Lindberg; Robyn and Maggie McPherson; and six great-grandchildren.

Born in Edmonton, Ruth Amy Gillis was the last of eight children born to Dorothy Rose (Milner) and John William Gillis. Her natural musical talent was recognized very young and was nurtured by Edmonton’s finest music teachers. By the time she was a teenager she was recognized as a soprano soloist of immense potential and shone in festivals and recitals.

After finishing at Victoria High School Ruth received a scholarship to study opera at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In addition to her studies she performed with the Opera Festival of Toronto, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and in recital with Jon Vickers.

Ruth returned to Edmonton to marry John New whom she had met through their shared love of music and singing in the All Saints’ Cathedral choir. She was quickly embraced by Edmonton audiences and over the years would be a featured soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Civic Opera, Edmonton Opera, Edmonton Pops Orchestra, Edmonton Mendelssohn Choir, Victoria Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society, Richard Eaton Singers and more.

She was much sought after as a vocal teacher, and a soloist for weddings, funerals, and in many of Edmonton’s churches where husband John was often the choir director. Ruth would also become a mainstay in Edmonton choirs Da Camera and the Richard Eaton Singers.

In addition to her singing career, Ruth was a wonderful mother to her three daughters; a fun-loving favourite aunt; a doting grandmother; the life of any party; an impressive seamstress and needlepoint enthusiast; and an avid gardener. She supported many charities and was a longtime volunteer with the Edmonton Opera Guild.

Even in the latter stages of dementia Ruth could still fill a room with her spirit and joy. The family would like to gratefully thank the Good Samaritan Society and the staff at Wedman House and the Gerald Zetter Centre for their loving care.

  1. We are remembering ? Auntie Ruth ? with fondness and much love…

    W-H-A-T a glorious and attractive woman she was!
    With her wonderful sense of humour and angelic soprano singing-voice
    she considerably brightened any room…

    Cousin Bob would recall that, many years ago, Auntie Ruth had bought him
    a baby-doll that looked J-U-S-T like him when he was a wee newborn…

    We do know that Heaven is indeed a brighter and happier place
    since our dear ? Vivacious-Auntie-Ruth ? has arrived!

    We send our deepest condolences and prayers to:

    ?Dianne & Family? and ?Cathy & Family?

    Love from:

    Valerie Gillis, wife of departed cousin, Bob Gillis,
    and son, Warren Gillis, and kitty-cat, Koko Gillis
    xoxoxoxox

  2. I had the pleasure of singing with Ruth in the Richard Eaton Singers and conducting Ruth in the offshoot choir, the Swingers, for many years. Her passion and talent for singing was enjoyed by many. My deepest sympathy to her family.

  3. I will always be grateful to Mrs. New for the years of singing lessons I had with her. She was funny, stern (when I was lazy :-)), well-organized, incredibly knowledgable, and of course musical! There have been many times over the years that I have been grateful for all the patience and care she took in her teaching. I feel fortunate that I got to see her a few times over the years (often at Richard Eaton concerts) to let her know it was partly as a result of her influence that I became a music teacher. Sadly I cannot come to the memorial service as I am not in Edmonton, but I will be thinking of her, and all of her family left to cherish memories of a feisty and talented woman.

  4. Thinking of you Cathy & Diane, at this difficult time. Aunty Ruth filled any room with fun and laughter, she will be missed by all but especially you girls. Much love Lynda Bell

  5. Cathy and Diane,

    Have been meaning to get this message to you … and finally am. Your family were neighbours of ours in Lynwood (Juchli Family on 86 Avenue) and my mom knew members of the New Family during her teenage years. Your mom sang at my mom and dad`s wedding in October of 1952 at St. Paul`s Anglican Church in the west end.

    About a year and a half ago, I was having supper in the dining room at Rosedale with a senior friend of mine – your mom was residing there at that time and I recognized her. We chatted … and the next time I was at Rosedale, I took a copy of the newspaper article from my mom and dad`s wedding which made mention of your mom as soloist to show her. It was not long after that she was moved and I see from the obituary, she was cared for at the Zetter Centre.

    Condolences on the loss of your mom.

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