Obituary: Ruth Jane (Matthias) Koontz

Ruth Jane (Matthias) Koontz (1931-2018)

This morning, December 25th, 2018, Ruth Jane (Matthias) Koontz of Plant City, Florida died after having been in hospice care for a couple of days.  She had just reached 87 years of age and had been in a long decline that had ravaged her memory and left her in increasingly poor health.  Born on December 20, 1931 just outside of Peterborough, Ontario, she was the daughter of an American track and field athlete who had moved to Canada to help coach their national team and a Canadian woman whose roots in Ontario go back to the period just after the American Revolution.

During her childhood, she suffered from rickets as a result of the difficult conditions of the Great Depression in Canada and she spent her teenage years in Baltimore, Maryland, where she studied nursing at John Hopkins University and remained a nurse for many years after that, nursing her grandchildren and her aging father, who lived in his own trailer on the family property even after she had retired from the profession.  After marriage in Miami, Florida, she moved around with her husband [1] as he was transferred to various Coast Guard posts and had three children before the two of them settled in Plant City, Florida in the mid 1960’s, where she resided ever since then.

During her years in Plant City she was an indefatigable hostess who enjoyed a variety of activities like sewing and cooking.  She would regularly grind her own flour and bake many types of breads and she greatly enjoyed cooking all kinds of food and making sun tea in her kitchen window and various mixed drinks ranging from shirley temples to rum and cokes that her family enjoyed eating and drinking.  Besides her family, who would often come to visit together at her place, she delighted in hosting others, especially fellow brethren from the Worldwide Church of God, in which she was active for many decades.  After the death of her father her health began a slow decline and she had lived for the past couple of years or so in a nursing home after she was unable to be taken care of by family at home.  Although she was a gracious hostess, she was a fiercely private woman about her interior life and in accordance with her wishes there will be no memorial service or celebration of life for her.  She is survived by three children, five grandchildren, a couple of great-grandchildren, and numerous other relatives from the families of her three older brothers and she will be greatly missed.


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4 Responses to Obituary: Ruth Jane (Matthias) Koontz

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    Grandma continued in good health until several years after her husband (grandpa) died. She nursed him at home throughout his infirmities and was his rock. I sense that she was always that as well as ours. It was afterward, when she no longer had anyone to care for, that she began losing her motor skills. Grandma also loved the “murder mystery” genre; she read voraciously and especially enjoyed TV shows such as “Matlock,” “Burn Notice” and “Perry Mason.” She was very skilled at crossword puzzles and often solved the notoriously difficult “New York Times” ones. I especially remember our conversations over the salmon or tuna salad lunches we would have, just the two of us, topped off with a cup of tea. I would often bring custom-made teapots and different, fruit-flavored teas which we would leisurely enjoy on those Tuesday afternoons. These times made for treasured memories. We also enjoyed good conversation during her first year or so at the nursing home before her mental faculties began to fail, and I am grateful for the time we had. We became friends during these years. I will hold onto these thoughts and other good memories as they come to mind in the days ahead.

  2. Catharine Martin says:

    We also shared a love of music. She had a good ear for it and especially loved instrumentals. Her favorite was Dvorak’s “Symphony in D minor” and she wore out that record. Our Sundays were filled with the sound of the “Dove”–WDOV; what we teens called elevator music. It was really the Percy Faith rendition of the pop songs at that time. I think that was her way of trying to get us out of the house and encourage us to help Grandpa do his post-hole digging or whatever arduous task he set for himself.

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