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Friday November 10, 2017

On November 6, a date of her own choosing, Ronnie Rose Rusk of Toronto ended a five-year struggle with Multiple System Atrophy. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 19, 1943, the only child of Helen (Hoppin) and Benjamin Diamond, and grew up in Jamaica Estates, Queens. Ronnie was a caring, gentle, loving person to family, friends, and the many people, especially seniors, she helped in her long career as a social worker. Shortly after graduating from Long Island University in 1966, she came to Toronto where a housemate eventually introduced her to a cousin, James Rusk. In 1970 they wed, starting an improbable-but-wonderful 47-year marriage between a woman who grew up in middle class Jewish New York with weekends at Borscht Belt hotels and an Ontario farm boy who drove a horse before he could ride a bicycle. Her support for him during his career at The Globe and Mail, the highlight of which was three years in Beijing, was exemplary. In retirement they travelled and spent the winters, up until the last, in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She is survived by her husband James, and sons Bruce (Hasnaa Fatehi) of Vancouver and Mark (Paulina Wyrzykowski) and their daughter Sylvia of Toronto. The family thanks those who eased Ronnie's final years, difficult though they were. The list is long but must include North York CCAC, Home Instead Toronto, Valleyview Residence, friends from First Unitarian Toronto, and two remarkable doctors, her neurologist Joyce Lee and family physician Frances Tung. A reception and memorial service will take place at on Saturday, November 11 at the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto at 175 St. Clair Ave. W. beginning at 12:00 p.m. (service at 2:00), with interment of ashes at Castleton, Ontario on Monday, November 13. If desired, memorial donations can be made to First Unitarian of Toronto or a charity of your choice.

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