Ruth (Bloom) Howes




Life and Work

Ruth Howes was a respected and extraordinary mother and philanthropist. She dedicated her life to the well being of her daughters and the continuation of the Women’s Institutes. She worked not only on the Local Women’s Institute but also the Provincial, striving to keep Alberta Women’s Institutes one of the foremost organizations in the world. Ruth was also active in Alberta Red Cross, the Canadian Cancer Society, and was consumer conscious and active in the Consumer’s Association of Canada with the purpose of informing and educating consumers on marketplace issues, to advocate for consumers with government and industry, and work with government and industry to solve marketplace problems.

Ruth and Thomas met at Bethany College in West Virginia, where she studied in education and he studied agriculture and later taught in that department. They married in June of 1917, and in 1925 they moved with their three daughters – Esther, Annis and Irma – to Willow Farm in Millet, where they made their home until their retirement in 1965. The Howes were blessed with 3 daughters, 14 Grandchildren, several Great Grandchildren, and many Great Great Grandchildren. As a direct quote from Ruth herself “My Greatest Joy is opening my home to my friends from many parts of the world. My wish for the future is that we put forth an earnest effort to keep Alberta Women’s Institute one of the foremost organizations in the world.” It was this love for women organizations that continued through her life in all of the organizations she entered.

She was active in the Hillside United Farm Women Association serving as president and as secretary. She was on the executive of the Millet Women’s Institute, and went on to become the Provincial Vice-President in 1935, and in 1955, President of the Alberta’s Women Institute. Also in 1955 the Council of the Alberta Women’s Institute made Ruth a life-member of the Provincial Women Institute. During the period of her office she served as delegate to conferences in Toronto, Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) and Edinburgh, to name a few. Later Ruth also completed a bibliography of Mrs. Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, founder of the Women’s Institute, as requested by the National Organization. From 1925 – 1966, Ruth worked hard for many causes to better social, educational, cultural and economic conditions of the people in not only Alberta, but also in Canada.