Community pioneer passes away

Darrell Cole
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Henry was a star of Weaving the Tale

Ruth Isabel Henry, one of those featured in the 2005 documentary Weaving the Story, has passed away.

AMHERST – Another one of the stars of the Weaving the Story documentary from 2005 has died.

Ruth Isabel Henry, 97, passed away Sunday at Dartmouth General Hospital following a short illness.

Henry was a housekeeper and nanny for a number of families in the Amherst area and had been a faithful caregiver to her sister, Dorothy.

“Along with the other women featured in Weaving the Story, Ruth certainly was a pioneer in the community,” Elizabeth Cook-Sumbu, executive director of the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, said Tuesday. “She was such a kind spirit and as we get older in our own lives we have come to respect how humble and how kind she was. She was a sweet, sweet person.”

Henry was a dedicated member of Highland AME Church for more than 50 years and was a member of the mass choir that helped the town celebrate its 100th anniversary in 1989.

Henry will be best remembered from her appearance on the Weaving the Story documentary that chronicled the journey of African Nova Scotian women in Cumberland County. She was featured in the documentary along with five other women.

CANSA teamed up with Eastlink Television and the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women to produce the documentary that was nominated for an Atlantic Film Festival Award.

“Weaving the Story brings together all the thoughts of our older black community in one place. It’s something we don’t have,” Cooke-Sumbu said. “A lot of our history is not written down. That film was so inspirational to the people that worked on it, but also to those who had an opportunity to see it and continue to watch it.”

Her obituary said she was so honoured to be acknowledged in this way and considered this to be her small contribution to the black history of the province.

Visitation for Henry will be Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Campbell’s Funeral Home. A funeral service is planned for Friday at 1 p.m. at the Highland AME Church on Church Street in Amherst.

Donations in her memory may be made to the AME Church or to a charity of choice.

Her death comes a little more than two years following that of another star of the documentary. Amelia ‘Doll’ Martin died in November 2011.

Another star of the show, Springhill’s Norma Ruddick, died last September.


Organizations: AME Church, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Dartmouth General Hospital Eastlink Television Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women

Geographic location: AMHERST, Cumberland County, Church Street

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