At Seasons, we believe it’s important to connect with the individuals who choose to call us home. The purpose of the Seasons Celebrates Remarkable Residents program is to highlight and celebrate achievements made throughout one’s lifetime. Contestants are asked to demonstrate one, or a combination of significant achievement within their life, having made important contributions to their local community, possessing a unique talent or skill, or making a positive contribution to the Seasons residence in which they live.
“We choose to align this program with Seniors’ Month in Ontario and Seniors’ Week in Alberta, too, because the goals of each are similar; highlight, celebrate, and recognize the seniors within our respective communities,” said Amanda White, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications.
The three finalists inspiring stories were filmed and posted on the Seasons corporate Facebook page. Our followers voted on who they believed should be named this year’s Remarkable Resident and awarded one-month free rent at their senior living community. The crowning title is awarded based on the total combined number of interactions, including likes, shares, and comments. Voting took place from June 1-9, 2019, with the winner being announced today, June 10, 2019, after close contention.
The winner is, remarkable, Ruth Anne.
The 2019 winner is Seasons Belle River resident, Ruth Anne Rhea. Raised with an unstoppable attitude, Ruth Anne was determined and resilient in life. Even in her youth, she knew that her future was in education. Financial hardships aside, Ruth Anne was strong-willed and diligent in completing a teaching degree with great success. “Growing up, the only thing I ever wanted to do was become a teacher. And I had 35 wonderful years of teaching children.”
Outside of the classroom, Ruth Anne spent the majority of her time volunteering with Von Geranium House, an organization dedicated to the provision of compassionate care and support to individuals facing a life-threatening illness. This was the same facility that cared for Ruth Anne when fighting her own battle against cancer.
“In December of 1999 my doctor sat across from me and said, ‘Ruth Anne, you have cancer of the bowel,’ which was the same cancer my father died of. He said it had metastasized and I would need to have chemotherapy.” To this, Ruth Anne simply responded, “Get me better, I have a lot left to do in my life.”
Eventually, Ruth Anne entered remission and decided that she wanted to give back. “When it was all over, I thought, I could help others out because I know what it’s like to have gone through that.” After 15 years of service as a volunteer, Ruth Anne was honored with the Lou Holly Award for outstanding commitment, throughout that time offering a therapeutic medical journaling course which was highly-valued by both the facility and its patients.
A true role model in life, and love.
Mayor of Lakeshore, Tom Bain, came to the residence on the day of filming to congratulate and endorse Ruth Anne. “We certainly are very proud of her. She’s a real role model. If there’s a need, she’s there to try and help,” said Tom.
Ruth Anne earned a sense of responsibility and desire to care for others from a young age. After losing her parents relatively early on, Ruth Anne had to care for her younger siblings like a mother. After becoming one herself, she looked after her daughters as a single parent, working full-time and taking night classes at the University of Windsor to advance her teaching career. She completed a bachelor’s degree and walked across the graduation stage at the age of 47.
It wasn’t until later in life that Ruth Anne was introduced to her true love and husband, Ted. “We were in the car and we started off [on our first date], and he just very gently reached over and took my hand. That was the beginning.” Ruth Anne credits much of her strength to the support of Ted, who she recalls as a very kind and gentle man. Unfortunately, Ted recently lost his life to cancer after being diagnosed in its final stages. His last words to Ruth Anne were, “You were my whole world,” to which she replied, “And you were mine.”
“I learned that memories are a great thing to have. But sometimes later in life, some memories hurt for the fact that they will never be again. But as everyone knows, you must go on. I don’t want to dwell on that because I do have such great memories.”
Ruth Anne’s strength, compassion, and desire to make a difference in the local community, and in the lives of others, is truly remarkable. To view the 2019 Remarkable Resident videos, visit Facebook.com/SeasonsRetirement.