Like others their age, Ruth and Charles (Chuck) Watson have seen good times and bad.
Ruth’s parents, Marrie and John Hanson were married and farmed near Minnedosa before moving to Saskatoon. John accepted a position selling farm machinery and supplies throughout the province. The family did well until the Depression hit. “After that, it was tough for us,” recollects Ruth. “We all helped out any way we could.”
What was exceptional about the family was its continued generosity shown to others. “Mom was kind to everyone. I remember a steady stream of men off the trains who would show up at our house asking for a meal. There was a sign posted at the CPR station on Idylwyld saying that if you needed a meal, go to #209 – 29th Street West. That was our house,” says Ruth.
Both sets of Chuck’s grandparents had emigrated to Saskatchewan, settling in the Indian Head area. Initially the families had done well, but like Ruth, Chuck remembers the downward turn in the economy. His mother planted a huge garden and did everything she could to stretch a penny. Recycled clothing was a mainstay. As a teen Chuck helped out at the Indian Head garage, receiving a dime for his efforts.
Chuck and Ruth met while she was visiting her brother in Indian Head. Romance was put on hold, however, as in 1940 Chuck joined the 76 Battery as part of the artillery regiment. The service took Chuck first to the U.K., then Italy, France, Germany, and finally to Holland at the end of the war.
In 1946, Chuck returned to Canada and he and Ruth were married. Having served his country well, Chuck was posted to the Canadian Army Director of Artillery, a position he held for the next 30 years. While in Ottawa, the couple was blessed with two sons, Jack and George.
In 1976, the couple retired and returned to Saskatoon where most of Ruth’s family still lived. “We always loved the prairies,” Ruth says. “It was sort of strange. For all the years we lived in Ottawa, we never actually met anyone who was born and raised in Ottawa. Everyone was from somewhere else.” Saskatoon benefited from their return.
The Watsons have always been generous. Part of their generosity comes from their relationship with the Lutheran Church. As devout church-goers, the Watsons believe in the work of the Church and willingly pay the tithe. As Chuck explains, “Money was made round to go around. It’s an old army saying. If they wanted to hold onto it, they’d put handles on it.” Ruth adds, “We support organizations that use their money wisely. We’ve taken care of family and now we can give to someone else who can benefit.”
The income from the Ruth and Charles Watson Family Fund held at Saskatoon Community Foundation shall be distributed to Luther Care Foundation, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Canadian Lutheran World Relief, and Salvation Army.
Ruth passed away March 26, 2006 and Charles passed away July 14, 2007.