James Ross Wainwright

For Ramona Wainwright it’s largely about heritage and returning something to her community. Mrs. Wainwright recently started a fund of approximately $10,000 with the Shuswap Community Foundation to honour her late husband, Jim Wainwright, and her mother, Ruby Mobley, who died in 1991.

The fund, with discretion for Foundation directors, will be largely aimed at the needs of children and youth in the Shuswap. As with all Foundation funds, the principal will be retained, and the earned interest disbursed annually. The fund will be open, which means others will be able to add to it and to recognize more family members as time goes on. “That way it will become part of a living history of the family and of the community,” she says.

Mrs. Wainwright was born into two pioneer Shuswap area families and grew up in Salmon Arm. Mother, Ruby was a member of the Flint family who settled in Gleneden in 1913. Long a Women’s’ Institute member, she was known for her gardening and creative handwork. Ruby had a warm and caring nature, and a great sense of humour. She loved outdoor life, especially hiking, fishing and wild berry picking with her family. Ramona’s father, Howard Mobley, was born in Sunnybrae in 1907, three years after that family arrived, and continues to live here.

Ramona Wainwright was teaching school in Victoria in 1953 when she met Jim, then a cadet at Royal Roads Military College. They married in 1955 in Salmon Arm. Jim eventually decided on a life insurance career. After eight years he was transferred to his native Toronto, where they remained for 35 years. Jim rose to be director of professional development for the Life Underwriters Association of Canada, later the Canadian Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. “But he always promised me we would come back when we retired,” says Ramona, “and we did, in 1998.”

The Wainwrights raised three children in Ontario where they enjoyed boating, and the cottage life. But BC was not forgotten and, “every year from 1963 we returned to spend part of our summer in British Columbia.” After they moved back Jim Wainwright continued to enjoy building model boats, woodworking, reading and researching family history until his sudden death in February of 2002.

Explaining the fund, Ramona Wainwright says they love the Shuswap, “and I’ve always felt the people here are special–so caring and generous. I wanted to be able to give something back. She adds that: as a teacher for 35 years and because of Jim’s work and love of children, they have always been aware of the needs young people. “I was really impressed by some of the work I saw done in Ontario by Boys and Girls Clubs and I’d like to think we can offer more of that kind of activity to youth in this wonderful community.”