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.
Elena Listopad and Konstantin Volchek
Our deepest sympathies to you, Harry, and your family on Ruta's passing . We will never forget Ruta's friendship, kindness and a great sense of humor.
My condolences to you and your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. May you find comfort and peace from God.
So sorry to hear of Rita's passing. Please accept our sincere condolences on your loss.
Lija and Norm, may the soul of your beloved mom rest in peace. Pray that your family will recover and heal from this heartbreaking loss in time. Our deepest condolences to your family.
Dan Saint-Laurent, MTO
Hi Lija, you have my deepest condolences on your Mothers passing. I hope you, your Dad and your Family are holding up well. I didn't realize how interesting a life your Mother led, you must have many happy memories.
Lija, please accept my sincerest condolences on your Mother's passing. May you and your family forever cherish the great legacy and memories of an incredible woman and find the strength to heal from this difficult time.
Thank you, Ruta, for all the love you showed everyone. Especially the poor, the homeless and to seniors through your commitment to them and their well-being. It was a blessing that my path crossed yours and Harry's in Riga. Condolences to Harry and all the family. Thank you for teaching me grace.
Harry, Lija and family, my deepest condolences to you all during this difficult time. I am honoured to have known such an accomplished, warm-hearted person who was also a dear friend of my mother's. May her memory and love be with you eternally. Vieglas smiltis, Rūta.