It is with great sorrow that the family of Ruta Whittaker (nee Leitass) announces her passing on September 19th, 2021 in her 81st year.
She will be greatly missed by her loving husband, Harry, her daughter Lija, her son-in-law Norman Lee and her grandchildren, Krisjanis (Amanda), Stefan and Katrina Whittaker-Lee.
Ruta lived an adventuresome life. Born in Valmiera, Latvia in 1941, she fled Latvia, with her mother and grandmother, ahead of the Soviet Army in 1944 and settled in a Displaced Person Camp in Flensburg Germany where they were later joined by her father. From there, they moved to live with her uncle in France and then onto Tunisia for 5 years before coming to Canada in 1955. She later earned a BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University.
In 1963, she married a young Naval Officer, Harry Whittaker. Over the next 18 years, the family, joined by daughter Lija Anne, lived in Halifax, California, Toronto and Manotick.
Ruta was always a progressive, independent Lady who worked as a biochemist, a French Teacher and a computer programmer. She supported the advancement of women in the workplace and cared deeply about the Environment.
In 1983, she joined Health Canada and over the next 18 years, worked there and at Environment Canada. She was the Canadian representative at the United Nations, the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC) for which she led the development of a computer database.
Retiring from government in 2001, she and Harry divided their time between Canada, Latvia and cruising. She also started an Environmental Consulting Company and, in Latvia, was the Warden of the Anglican Church, St. Saviour’s, for 8 years, worked in the church soup kitchen and ran the church Seniors Club.
Her memory and love for travel will live on in the hearts of those she touched and at the seniors club.
Funeral Services will be held at the Beechwood Cemetery on Monday, September 27, 2021 1:00 PM Eastern Time. Visitation at 12:00 PM. You are also welcome to attend the service through a livestream broadcast. Click on the above tab to register.
In lieu of flowers donations to St. Saviour's or St. Andrew's Latvian Church would be appreciated.
Vieglas smiltis, Rūta.
Linda Quick and Duane Morden
Our condolences and prayers at your time of loss. May your memories provide you comfort and peace.
Ted and Diane Davie
Word of Ruta's death was an unpleasant surprise. Thank you for your many contributions for making this a better world. We offer our prayers and condolences to Harry and the family. Rest in peace.
Don and Janice Poole
We were very sorry to learn of Ruta's passing. It was always a pleasure to chat with her at our various Class '63 Reunions and wonderful to learn of her contributions to her country in various capacities. Our sincere condolences to Harry and the Whittaker family.
Harry, you have my utmost sympathy. Having lost my beloved Frances in April 2020, I can imagine your pain. Here's an electronic hug.
Susan Boot, MTO
Lija, condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother. She was a very
accomplished woman. May your many family memories bring you strength and comfort during this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.
Harry and family, please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss. We will remember Ruta for her warm smile and friendly nature.
Steven, Lorelei Scott and family (Bunker Road)
Emma and Andrew Garner
Our condolences. We only knew you for a short time in Riga, but you'll always have a place in our hearts. May Ruta rest in eternal peace.
My hearfelt condolences to Harry and family. Ruta was a wonderful person and a good friend. I will miss her.
Wendy Ng, MTO
Lija, I'm very sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved mother. May fond memories bring you and your family peace, comfort and strength at this difficult time. My sincere condolences.
In my memories of many decades ago Ruta was a responsible, diligent student,
an always caring young woman, passionately dedicated to the betterment of all
people and the world. May you rest in peace, Ruta, and forever in the cherished memories of your dearest ones.