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Ruby Gallagher passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 at Rainycrest Long-Term Care in Fort Frances, Ont after struggling for many years with Alzheimer's.

She was born in Emo, Ont. on May 4, 1926 to Annie VanDrunen. Her father, Anton, had passed before her birth.

Ruby's older brother, Hank, was the man of the house while she was growing up. They lived through very lean times; she learned the value of hard work and wasting very little—virtues that came to shape the woman she was throughout her whole life.

Ruby valued her education very much.  She attended school in Emo until Grade 10, then completing high school in Dryden. She stayed with Mary Fisher while working in her first teaching post before taking a position at Alexander MacKenzie School in Fort Frances. She was hired particularly for her ability to play piano.

Ruby had a passion for music. Her musical talents grew stronger throughout her teaching career and up until her last days, she sang children's songs as though she was in a classroom full of students.

She also had a great sense of humour and enjoyed making others laugh and smile.

Ruby moved to Fort Frances, where she fell in love with Reginald Gallagher. They married on Feb. 2, 1952. She continued to pursue her career and enjoyed helping her students with annual music festivals, teaching songs, and playing piano.

She enjoyed all that life and her community had to offer, and enthusiastically contributed wherever she saw need. She was generous with both her time and money.

She and Reg lived a simple life and were happy to keep their material possessions to a minimum. The walls of their home were adorned with the cherished pictures of family and friends and treasures gifted to them by the children they loved. They had an enormous garden and also enjoyed many weekends at their cabin on Clearwater (Burdett) Lake.

In later years, she continued her active lifestyle by swimming and attending the mill weight room. She preferred to walk everywhere she needed to go.

Ruby always was very proud of her family, often sharing stories and remembering good times and memories with them.

Ruby was predeceased by her loving husband, Reginald Gallagher (2000), father, Anton VanDrunen; mother, Annie (VanDenburg) VanDrunen; and brothers and sisters, Hank, Annette, Florence, and Anton VanDrunen.

She leaves behind her sister, Margaret, and brother-in-law, Gordon, of Emo, Ont.; sister-in-law, Lil of Devlin; daughter, Marlene of Saskatchewan; and grandchildren, Mellisa (Casey and Reed) of Atikokan, Ont. Micheal (wife, Chantel, and Elijah) of Devlin, Ont., and Jim (Peyton), Reg (Taidje and Ariel), Paul, Randy, and Seth of Saskatchewan.

She also is survived by close family friends, Barb and Len of Fort Frances, Ont., Michelle of Kenora, Ont., and Jeff of Atikokan, Ont.

She will be greatly missed by all of her extended family, nieces, nephews, and chosen family.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018 at 1 p.m. at Green Funeral Home in Fort Frances, with Rev. Barbara Miller officiating.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Rainycrest Auxiliary, of the Fort Frances “Friends of the Library.”

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