If there was one thing Ruby McCarroll wasn’t shy about, it was giving her old friends a call.

One friend, Mary Doyle, says she’d come to expect Ruby’s calls every week or so for 60 years. The pair loved to talk endlessly about the news in Hagersville, a town of 2,800 people, bonding over what was new with their families and friends, who’d gotten married and who’d had new babies, Mary says. 

Died on March 30, 2020
Hagersville, ON

Age 95

Ruby was deeply involved in her rural Southern Ontario community. She worked for more than 30 years as an elementary school teacher, and volunteered at her local church, meals on wheels, and even the local hospital. Volunteering was a way for her to give back and to help out where she could, going so far as to win a lifetime achievement award in 2008 with the Haldimand-Norfolk Soroptimist club, a non-profit volunteer service for community based projects to help women in need. 

She was an equally active card shark, playing hoss and bridge with her friends, and often bringing her husband Don for couples games. And, Mary says, just when she’d think she hadn’t heard from Ruby in a while, she’d get a phone call.

“I’d talk over the phone with her and when she’d say goodbye she’d say, ‘you’re gonna call me, you promised, you keep your promises.’ That would be a running joke between us.” 

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.