After 50 + years well-known church organist retires

After more than 50 years as the United Church organist Ruth Melnyk (left with Beth Campbell and right cutting a thank-you cake from the congregation) has retired. Photos courtesy of Melanie Melnyk
By Melanie Melnyk

After 50+ years of playing music Sunday mornings at the United Church, Ruth Melnyk hung up her choir gown and pulled the cover over the piano on Easter Sunday this year.
Ruth has seen many Reverends come and go but you could always count on her to be there on Sunday.  Ken Jones, the present Reverend of the Church says he’d hardly begin to ask and Ruth would say “sure, I’ll do it.”  She not only played either the piano or organ on Sunday mornings but her chimes and melody could be heard ringing out at weddings, special occasions and funerals.  Ruth’s talent extended outside the church as well.  Ruth was practice pianist for many of our annual musical productions, she played for the Seniors Choir and for anyone else that called on her to help.
Ruth’s musical talent began early when she took the Royal Conservatory lessons as a young girl.  In her high school years she played piano for the School Band.  Later Ruth kept many toes tapping and the dance floor full as she was part of the Old Time Dance Club playing along side Bill and John Cwikula, Oscar Knoblauch and Archie McInnis.  Many adults in this community can attribute their musical ability to Ruth as well as she taught piano lessons for years while running their business, Aspen Grove Motel.  Her children laughingly remember their Mother’s piano being loaded into the back of a truck as she wanted to play it in one of the local parades.
The United Church hosted an appreciation night for Ruth on May 15 this year.  Donna Hannah, Len Best and their band as well as the Church Choir entertained many well wishers and family at a lovely potluck held in the church basement.  Ryan, Tasha and Skyler Manson of Calgary as well as Tom and Gina McMahon from Kelowna were family members that came from out of town.  Ruth and her immediate family would like to thank all that attended, both from the church to the family at large, to the church family that provided the wonderful food, Ken Jones for being the M/C for the evening, the great entertainment, the beautiful gifts and Beth Campbell for your long-time support and encouragement.  Words can’t express how much it was appreciated.  Thanks for everything!
For those that miss Ruth’s lovely music you can still catch her getting those toes tapping at Moberly Manor on Thursday afternoons!  And the beat goes on…..