The Ponoka Jubilee Library is inviting interested Ponoka public to attend a reception and opening of an endowed “Children’s Reading Corner” in memory of Eva Leone Schmidt, to take place on May 28, at 1 p.m. in the library hall.
Eva Schmidt (nee Ruggles) was born in Champion, Alberta, a small prairie town southeast of Calgary. The family moved several times though to find a better life on the land, eventually moving to Ponoka., where Burt Ruggles secured employment as Public Works foreman. Eva had moved to Ponoka to attend school in Grade 10, living with relatives initially until the rest of her family moved also. She was happy not to have to ride a horse to a one-room school every day, rain or shine, summer and winter.
Eva was a motivated student. She was a socially happy teen always willing and helpful with caring for and teaching children especially in summer church sponsored vacation schools. She had set her career in the field of radiation and isotope cancer therapy, but before studying that field she enrolled in a leadership course in 1952, at the Baptist Leadership Training School, related to her Ponoka home town Baptist Church.
After that year in Calgary, she studied her field of radiation therapy at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, University of Alberta. She later worked at the Vancouver General Hospital and also in Kirkaldy, Scotland in the field of breast cancer treatment.
Eva married her high school friend, Nis Schmidt, who had just completed his medical internship in Edmonton, and immediately they travelled to Honolulu, where Dr Schmidt commenced his surgical training at the University of Hawaii. In the year following, she and Dr. Schmidt returned to Ponoka while he was a family physician at the Ponoka Medical Clinic. As the years went by and children arrived, she chose to spend time raising her family and enjoyed working with children’s activities in Vancouver where they had settled.
As her children grew, Eva went back to the University of British Columbia, completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, then did an Early Childhood Education certificate at the Langara Community College in Vancouver, subsequently spending many years directing preschools, especially the Little Ark Preschool at the West Point Grey Baptist Church, Vancouver, and teaching early childhood education with Langara College. Her favourite medium and teaching aids with kids were music, art, children’s poetry and literature.
Eva developed multiple sclerosis which unfortunately progressed until she needed daily assisted care, and a series of added problems caused her eventual passing on Dec. 8, 2016. She was dearly loved by her husband and family for her great courage and her love and unique ability with children. She was favoured by many families for the way she related to and understood their kids, who called and loved her as “Miss Eva.”
– Submitted by Dr. Nis Schmidt