Ruth Goldbloom, 1923 — 2012

Extraordinary Volunteer

When she was admitted to the Order of Nova Scotia in 2008, Ruth Goldbloom's citation began by saying that she had "dedicated her life to enriching the lives of Nova Scotians." How true that was. Expressed differently, Ruth Goldbloom stands in the front rank of Canadian volunteers for all that she accomplished for the good of her community.

She was born Ruth Miriam Schwartz in New Waterford, to parents who had come from the part of imperial Russia where at the time Jews were allowed to live. Though born and raised in Canada, Ruth always felt for what her parents — and millions of other families from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds — had gone through in becoming newcomers in their new land.

Ruth went to Mount Allison and McGill Universities, and it was at the latter that she met the man she would marry, Richard Goldbloom. The couple and their children moved to Halifax in 1967, with Richard becoming Physician-in-Chief at the Isaac Walton Killam Children's Hospital. From then on, Ruth was involved as a volunteer making Halifax and Nova Scotia better places to live. She chaired or played leading roles in fundraising campaigns for the Children's Hospital, Mount Saint Vincent University, the United Way, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and Symphony Nova Scotia. Along the way, she was the first Jew to chair the Mount St. Vincent's Board of Governors.

In 1990, Ruth co-founded the Pier 21 Society, and spearheaded fundraising efforts that would eventually raise $16 million for a museum to tell the stories of the more than one million immigrants who had come to Canada through that ocean terminal between 1928 and 1971. Ruth was a driving force, always encouraging people to support the project. The Pier 21 museum opened in 1999; ten years later it was designated a National Museum of Immigration.

For her decades of enthusiasm and dynamic leadership, Ruth Goldbloom received many honours and awards for a life so very well lived.