Lautsch: Mary Belle Lautsch passed away, on June 27th, at home after fighting a battle with her failing heart. Martin and Mary Belle watched the depth of their Mother's courage, determination and strength. While her over protective pup, Mozart laid beside her giving kisses. She was predeceased by her husband Frank Joseph in 2008, parents John Ridgeway and Mary Belle Booker, sister Linda Hogaboam and treasured family friend Lynn Moore. A Daughter, Sister, Friend, Wife, and Mother. Many titles for a remarkable lady. Mary Belle was enthusiastic, committing to each of these roles plus; Volunteer, Inquisitive Traveller and Businesswomen. Student of History, Art, Music and Current Events. Mary Belle was born on July 3rd, 1930 in her Grandmother's home on 3rd Avenue, N.E. The first fourteen years of Mary Belle's life were spent living in the Owner's Suite of the of the Healy Hotel. Her day often started with Breakfast with the Night Auditor or a Traveller. People watching, spending time with the cooks in the kitchen and parties in the private dining room all proved to be highlights and the most memorable time of her life. It was during this time that her dog, Vicki a constant companion, was gifted to her by a Traveller. Prior to attending Beatty Collegiate, a block from the Hotel, she was disappointed to learn that the family would be moving into a house on 4th Avenue N.E. So much for a short walk! In 1947, before starting the 11th grade, Mary Belle was sent to Branksome Hall, an all-girls School in Toronto. She also studied voice and piano at The Royal Conservatory of Music. As anxious as she was to board the 4:00 am train heading East, these experiences opened her eyes to the world and strongly influenced the adult that she was to become. After graduation she enrolled in a Business Program at Mount Royal College. This led briefly to a position with an Oil Company. Returning to Swift Current Mom worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia, the Research Station and assisted at the Hotel. Mary Belle's itchy foot took her to Lansing Michigan to visit relatives. This led to Detroit. Here she worked at what she referred to as one the worst jobs she endured and one of the best jobs she ever had. Incidentally, they were both in the same office tower, the Penobscot Building. It was also here where she was introduced to then President Truman as the token Canadian. A decision was made to get serious about her future in the hotel industry and Mom opted to enroll in the Hospitality Program at Cornell University. An internship in Waukesha, Wisconsin followed. Additional education at Cornell, led to an executive position in Miami Beach and later with the same organisation, at the Tamarack Lodge in the Catskills of New York. After working between Florida and New York for two years, Mary Belle's left foot began to itch. She set off for Europe, with a trunk, an upright garment suit case, hat boxes, cosmetic case, an overnight bag and a knife hidden discreetly in her purse. Mom explored Scotland, Ireland and parts of England. With funds running low it was time to go to work. She started with a temp agency at Piccadilly Circus in London. This allowed her to continue her travels throughout Europe. Highlights included; Paris, Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Cologne, Baden-Baden and Vienna. Several months later it was time to head home on the RMS Queen Mary. Mary Belle returned to Swift Current in 1958 for Christmas, planning to head back to New York for a Management position. It didn't take long before she became wrapped up in Catering, Banquets and Events at the Healy Hotel. In early 1960 in the Lobby, she curtly refused an offered ride home from Joe. Within a year they were married! They began the first years of married life in Regina, exploring businesses and communities in their spare time. It wasn't long before Joe and Mary Belle moved to Swift Current and purchased a struggling stationery store. Rebranding it as Jomar Stationery. They moved into a house just in time for Mom to give birth to Martin Ridgeway, on May 29th, 1964. Mary Belle's mother was elated to have a grandson she could spoil. On February 15th, 1966, Mary Belle the Fourth was born to complete the family. After spending several summers renting in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Mary Belle and Joe bought a charming A frame cabin. So much to carry and so many trips to get everything up to our hide-away in the trees. We were all kept busy during the summers. Traipsing through the bush picking berries for homemade jams and jellies. Her days were filled with exercise classes, hiking, swimming, canoeing, wiener roasts and walking around the lake. Annual trips to Fort Walsh, the Conglomerate Cliffs and The Ranger's Station were eagerly anticipated. Daily happy hours with neighbors, family, friends and the wind-up parties with the exercise Ladies rounded out the season. Out of all our memories and experiences Christmases with our dachshunds; Siegfried and Max at the Cabin were unique and magical. Mom started volunteering at a young age by helping her mom at all the Anglican Functions. She was a troop leader for the Brownies and Girl Guides. As a member and President of The Hospital Auxiliary, she looked forward to taking the Library Cart to the wards and visiting with the patients. Art was one of her passions. She sat at the Art Gallery when it was above the Armoury and continued until, its relocation beside the library. Mom was one of the original members of The Allied Arts Council, holding an array of positions; President, Secretary/Treasurer and Director. In the Spring of 1979, Mary Belle was instrumental in organising the annual Arts and Crafts Sale on the lower floor of the Armoury Building. It continued to grow over the years and moved to the Comprehensive High School, the Stockade and to its eventual home at the Swift Current Mall. It was renamed Wind Fall Art and Craft Sale. Joining the Art Gallery Docent Program, in it's second year, Mary Belle gave papers, guided tours and organized volunteers. Frequently, sitting there twice a week to make sure the Gallery was open to the public. Her involvement developed into an integral role when they became the Art Study Group. She arranged, coordinated, and lead the girls, as she affectionately called them, through their weekly meetings. Mom sat at the Gallery during every Weekend of Windscape, knowing how important it was for the visiting public to see the Gallery's success. She continued to volunteer at the Gallery until Covid closed everything down. Mom canvassed locally for the United Way for decades. Mary Belle coordinated the collection of used clothing on behalf of the Catholic Schools for several years. Anytime a family needed Christmas gifts or new Easter cloths they could call on her for help. Anonymously, she often gifted dozens of swimming and skating passes to local children. While in Mesa Mary Belle volunteered as a Teachers' Aid, which continued until the school system required Aids' to be certified. Then she decided to Volunteer as docent at the Mesa Southwest Museum. The Beta Sigma Phi Sorority was an important part of her life for over 65 years. Joining at age 19 with one of her closest friends and developing into meaningful life-long friendships with her amazing sorority sisters in Mesa. As a Life-time Member and Member at large she served in many executive rolls that supported community involvement. Mom never turned away a school group or youth organisation that were looking for donations. For their 25th Anniversary, after selling their business Jomar Stationery and retiring in the fall of 1985, they purchased a motorhome. Travelling first to Arizona, then to Vancouver for Expo 86. Mom was a true navigator, she enjoyed reading maps and watching the countryside. Eventually, most of their trips were to visit Martin in Vancouver and Mary Belle in Victoria. Side trips included Tofino and Northern Saskatchewan. They enjoyed 20 plus years in their Park Model home, with their companions Yum Yum and later Dixie, at Viewpoint Resort in Mesa. Here they enjoyed the Snowbird lifestyle, meeting new people, swimming, golfing, exploring and side trips throughout the valley. It should be no surprise that she collected art. Her tastes could be eclectic. None of us including herself would know what might just catch her attention. Primarily her interests were; landscape painting and pottery. Our Mother was a voracious reader. There was always and still is a stack of books in the Living Room waiting for her. She primarily focused on non-fiction and fictional history. Music was always an important part of her life; Broadway Musicals, Big band, Swing, Jazz, Classical and of course Opera. Almost weekly, the CBC Radio Program "Saturday Afternoon at the Opera", would be on so loud that the house shook. On more than one occasion she lamented that if perhaps she had not listened to her music so loud, she would not have needed hearing aids. She would also comment that she did not want to enjoy her music any other way! Mary Belle would be adamant about how much she adored and loved her Joey! It would be very important that her son, Martin and Daughter, Mary Belle know just how extremely proud she is of them. You are the Sun and the Moon, A bright shining Star! You are the Wind beneath our Wings! Our memories of you will lift us up on Eagles Wings, We will Soar with courage and Strength like You, HAPPY HOURS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME, CHEERS MOM! Her Service was held at St. Stephen the Martyr Anglican Church on Monday July 12th, 2021 at 2:00 pm. with Reverend Chris Dowdesell officiating. She was piped in to "The Skye Boat Song." Her Life Tribute was provided by her Son, Martin. The Soloist throughout the service was her daughter, Mary Belle. Readings were provided by close family friends. Pallbearers were also family and close friends. Her interment service was held at Mount Pleasant Burial Park. Warren's Funeral Home were in care of the arrangements. The family wishes to thank them for their care, understanding and support. Memorial Donations are graciously requested to be made to the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada, 1929 Bayview Avenue, Suite 215A, Toronto, Ontario, M4G 3E8. www.glaucomaresearch.ca , for further information please call 306-773-8831 or visit our website at www.warrensfuneralhome.com and express your sympathy to the family on our tribute wall.
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Glaucoma Research Society of Canada