Allen passed away in a Halifax hospital on June 4, six months after a debilitating car accident that injured her and husband Jim.
While she will be remembered countywide for a prominent role in municipal politics that included many years as a county councillor, two terms as Cumberland County warden, and also many years chairing and serving on the local school board, her friends and neigbours will remember her for her tireless efforts as a community volunteer, her quick wit and memorable sense of humour.
Allen could have made it rich as a stand-up comedian, according to her lifelong friend, Joan Czapalay.
“It was her interest in people that shone through,” she said. “She had a tender side too, and I do not think she got the recognition she deserved for the years of work which she did for our community. What a friend, and what a character.”
Czapalay spent a lot of time with her friend as she recovered in hospital during the past six months, and said they shared a lot of laughs together in spite of the situation, which saw the 78-year-old endure several surgeries and rehab sessions.
“She made wonderful friends with the team at the rehab,” said Czapalay. “The fact that they put a sign over her bed when she came back from surgery which said, ‘Welcome back, your Highness!’ tells a lot! She remembered every nurse and always introduced them, and would never fail to ask about their families.”
Barb Aris, who chairs the Shore Drive Community Development Association (SDCDA), said the association was grateful for Allen’s guidance, wisdom and friendship, and that her leadership and vision would continue to guide them.
“With the passing of Ruth Allen, the SDCDA community has lost a great leader and cherished friend,” said Aris. “A distinguished former chairman and board member, Ruth leaves and indelible impact on our non-profit association as well as the community as a whole. Her legacy is much more than her achievements; it is also her personal witness to the mission and values that shape her beloved community.”
Ruth Allen leaves behind her husband Jim, daughter Andrea McKay (John) and three grandchildren. She will be laid to rest on Thursday, June 11, with funeral at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Fox River, 2 p.m.