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Saturday December 29, 2012

RUTH ELIZABETH COOKE (Professor Ruth Grahame, MD, MSc)
On Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Ruth died at the age of 87 years from breast cancer. Ruth is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Robert Leighton Cooke; brother Gordon Grahame; four children, Mary Ellen (Toronto), Robert (Toronto, Liesel Putrycz), Andrew (Winnipeg, Pamela Woodmass) and Sheila Cooke-Witt (Hamburg, Germany, Karsten Witt) and 11 grandchildren. Ruth was born in 1925 and raised in Stony Mountain and Winnipeg. She attended Laura Secord and Gordon Bell Schools where she developed lifelong friendships. Ruth's father was a dentist and a pragmatic Scot who insisted that if she was to go to University it should be in something practical. Ruth graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba in 1949. Her final year in Medical School was memorable. She was voted Senior Stick (Class President) by her classmates and broke her leg on a class ski trip to La Riviere. It was while attending hospital rounds in a wheel chair that she caught the eye of a dashing young surgeon returned from the war. Ruth and Robert (Bob) were married in Dec 1949. Reflecting on her long and happy marriage she would say ''we laughed a lot and had so much fun!'
In 1951 Ruth and Bob moved to New York City with their first born and a second child was born there. While Bob pursued further surgical oncology training at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Ruth and the children explored New York and Ruth began a lifelong fascination with American history and politics. This was a golden time for Ruth and fondly remembered for the rest of her life. After 4 years they returned to Winnipeg where they welcomed two more children to the family. In the mid-1960s with the enthusiastic support of her husband, Ruth returned to university to earn a Master of Science. She then resumed her medical career in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Anatomy where she rose to Associate Professor. An entire generation of Manitoban doctors, dentists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and dental hygienists were trained by her in Gross Anatomy, Neuro-Anatomy and Embryology. As well she supervised Masters and PhD candidates in their medical research and publications. She was Undergraduate Curriculum Coordinator for the medical school. She served on innumerable university committees, and co-authored several anatomical text books. She was voted Professor of the Year by the Class of 1974. She retired in 1988. In her personal life, Ruth loved to cook, entertain, and dance. She was an avid reader and was able to hold forth with wit on many a topic. She was a devoted patron of opera and Dixieland jazz. In the summertime, on her own, she fearlessly ferried her 4 children in a small open boat to a remote cottage with neither phone nor electricity where she dealt with a cranky propane fridge, a wood stove and nosy bears in her kitchen. After retirement Ruth continued to live life to the full, traveling the world with her husband, enjoying her adored grandchildren and participating in the University Women's Club and The Twenty Club. She and Bob took great pride in their children, three MDs and an MBA. The last year of her life was a struggle with recurrent breast cancer and progressive dementia, but overall her life has been blessed with family happiness and professional success. A wake will be held on Saturday, January 19, 2012 2:00 p.m. at 970 Wellington Crescent. Her ashes will be placed in a fond family location. In lieu of flowers a donation may be made to the University of Manitoba, School of Medical Rehabilitation. Wojcik's Funeral Chapel in care of arrangements.


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