Does the name Maccoy ring a bell with you?
There are a couple of good reasons why it might.
Many will know it as the name of Maccoy house, the log cabin at Sheppard Family Park. But many Anglicans in High River will associate it with Ruth Maccoy – a generous benefactor of St. Benedict’s Anglican Church.
Ruth’s life-story is truly an unusual one.
She was born in 1915, in Regina, and lived there until she was two years of age. Her father, Percy Maccoy was killed in the First World War, and her mother Evelyn and baby Ruth moved to England. They returned to Canada six years later and spent their first while with long- time friends, the Runcimans, at the Bull Creek Ranch in the Foothills.
When Ruth was 10, her mother married Henry Sheppard at which time they moved to the homestead south of 12th Ave. S.E. in High River. This, and the log cabin built in the early 1880s, was to remain her home for the next 70 years.
Her schooling was completed in High River after which she chose to stay and help her parents on their dairy farm. A love of animals was a very special part of Ruth’s life. Her interests also included classical music, art, and flowers. She left us with a beautiful remembrance of poppy miniatures which were displayed on the wall of her log house as an interesting conversation piece. In the spring, summer, and fall the English garden that was her front yard was an astonishing showcase of brilliant colors and breath-taking beauty.
After her stepfather, and her mother died (1954 and 1959respectively), Ruth employed two modes of transportation for many years. She rode horseback, usually making summer rides to visit ranch friends around the district. Around High River, a bicycle was her choice of conveyance. In later years, however she purchased a British Austin mini which got her safely to the church, the post office, and shopping stops.
Many older townspeople will remember going to Maccoy’s dairy farm once a week to pick up their weekly order of milk or cream. It was kept fresh in the cool springs of the Little Bow Creek immediately west of the house, or in the root cellar at the rear.
She was a supportive member of St. Benedict’s church which was one of her special loves. She was an active member of the Women’s Auxiliary helping to host fundraising teas and supplying lunches for various church events. Her dedication to the Altar Guild kept her working behind the scenes, seeing that the church altar was properly dressed, and everything was in order for communion celebrations every Sunday. She rarely missed a worship service.
She died on Dec. 7, 1995, and her passing revealed a tremendously generous legacy for her beloved community. She left a large endowment to St. Benedict’s Church and, in addition, 13.6 acres of the original 200-plus-acre farm to the Town of High River to be used as a family park.