June 12, 1930 - December 19, 2014
June 12, 1930-December 19, 2014
Ruth Mackay, 84, of Dallas, Texas formerly Florida and Illinois died peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones. She was born June 12, 1930 in Hamburg, Germany to the late Erwin and Elisabeth Strauss. She was preceded in death by her second husband, Don MacKay. She is survived by her brothers, Harold Strauss, resident of Georgia and Eric Strauss in Berkley, CA, her children; John Hasenberg of Morton Grove, IL, Dorette Brown of Brookfield, IL, Deborah Mabeley of Dallas, TX, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Mom was born in 1930 in Hamburg, Germany. Mom was an admitted Daddy’s girl. Her father had to flee Germany prior to the start of WWII because he was a Jew. He was forced to leave his family behind in order to leave safely. Mom, her Mother and her brothers had to stay in Germany during the remainder of WWII and it was not until the last 20 years would she discuss those hard events. Her paternal aunt was killed in Auschwitz and her paternal uncle was killed by the Nazi’s. She survived the bombing of Hamburg in July 1943, which was a significant event, killing 42,600 Germans and almost destroying the entire city. Many more bombings would occur, but I believe it was this event that Mom wrote about being the most difficult time during the war. At 13 years old she found herself wandering through the bombed streets, trying to find her family, and wondering if they were still alive.
Mom described herself as a child being outgoing, loving, a tomboy and a daredevil. She would defy her mother by rollerskating when her mother said no and jumping off moving elevators with a childhood friend.
Mom arrived in the United States in September 1946 at the age of 16 and her family settled in the city of Chicago. She did not speak English, was entered into 1st Grade until she was able to learn English, and go through the necessary grades to ensure she could graduate from 8th Grade. She graduated from Elementary School in January 1948 and become a Citizen of the US in February 1948.
She was united in marriage with John Hasenberg December 1953, and gave birth and raised her children in this marriage. Mom and Dad settled in the City of Chicago and later moved to LaGrange, IL after the race riots in the 60s prompted them to leave the city. Mom was very active in the civil rights movement. They later divorced after the children were grown, and over the years, became good friends.
Mom did not learn to drive until she was in her forties. After a couple of stressful attempts with Dad trying to teach her, I remember her paying for a company to give her driving lessons.
Mom used to take us to the Art Institute in Chicago and my favorite part always was to see ‘The Thorne Rooms’ and looking at the State Street windows during Christmas, especially at Marshall Fields.
Another thing she did in her forties is go to Nursing School. She graduated in September 1976. I was quite proud of her for this achievment. She worked at Hinsdale Sanitarium and Hospital on the Telemetry Ward until she retired as a Licensed Practical Nurse.
She married Don MacKay in February 1989. Unfortunately he was killed in a auto accident July 1991. Although it was a brief marriage, they were very much the love of each other’s life. Mom and Don enjoyed many trips together and loved their home in Downers Grove, Il.
Mom loved reading and it is because of her I enjoy the same love of reading. Many of our conversations centered around the books she or I were reading. Her last two favorite books she read several times each were ‘Unbroken’ by Laura Hillenbrand and ‘The Gargoyle’ by Andrew Davidson.
Mom also loved creative writing and photography. She took classes on both these topics and became quite accomplished. She framed her favorite photo she took of a fall day in the woods. Her writing provided an outlet for some of her experiences during WWII.
Mom enjoyed many of her retirement years at Century Village in Pembroke Pines, FL. She was extremely social, had a large group of friends, and was always on the go. She very much enjoyed her time there.
Mom came to live with me, Debbie Mabeley, in December 2011 due to her health concerns and diagnosis of dementia. She enjoyed the remainder of her life with her favorite of my dogs, Shiner, the brown dog in the picture. He slept on her bed and I would often tease her that he thought it was his bed and he was just letting her use it. She and Shiner got in trouble many times mostly for her sneaking him people food and the two of them getting caught, like the time I found several of her bowls under the bed where Shiner had licked them until they were clean.
Mom was a quick study, often when we went places together she would ask others about their personal life, knowing the right questions to ask, and getting to know that person in a brief period of time. This ability always amazed me, and even with her dementia, when she would see that person again she would remember the names of their wife or children and would ask them how they were.
Mom was loved deeply and will be missed by many.
A small private service was held at her home in Dallas, Texas.
Arrangements are under the direction of: ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home 10116 E. NW Highway Dallas, Texas 75238 214.340.8008
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