Ruth Gilbert

Ruth Gilbert

13 January 1937
Croydon, United Kingdom
10 August 2022
Barnet, United Kingdom
Words by
Andrew, Katie and Mark Sons and Daughter

Mum was born in 1937 in Croydon, where her family ran a number of furniture shops. The Second World War dominated her childhood, with the family staying in London in Southgate, where Grandpa was a teacher and Grandma was to build a lingerie business. Her older sister Esme and her placed great value on study and built local lifelong friends. Mum went to University College London to study Law, where on her first day she met Barbara, as they were two Jewish women amongst many men.

whilst finishing off her degree, doing her articles and taking up employment as a solicitor she made all our childhood a learning, focused, happy and supported place

Mum was an avid reader and it was to Jane Austen she would often return, with Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South her favourite book. From theatre to music, art galleries and museums Mum enjoyed London.

Involved in youth and social activities Mum was a popular figure, but when Dad and her met at the Young Marylebone they were engaged within six weeks. Mum came from an Orthodox background, Dad from a less observant one. Dad was clear that the Jewish house was always kept to Mum’s expected levels. However in terms of shul mum felt that sitting apart would never work as a family and she became an early member of Finchley Reform.

Family meals saw mum maintaining tradition, adapting and perfecting recipes of family (butter cake) , and hosting family gatherings, dinner parties for friends and Mum’s roulade, pavlova and salmon mousse, and other classic dishes were beloved of friends and family and were always demanded as a must at any gathering.

The friends they had made particularly at the Young Marylebone and from Mum’s university and school days were central and life-long.

Mum joined Dad in Henry Bertrand and this success opened up travelling further afield

In 1959 Andrew was born, followed two years later by Katie and then in 1967 Mark. Mum whilst finishing off her degree, doing her articles, and taking up employment as a solicitor she made all our childhood a learning, focused, happy and supported place.

Mum joined Dad in Henry Bertrand and this success opened up travelling further afield, they really loved the visits to New York and building relationships with Mum ‘s cousins in New York and Florida.

From family holidays boating in Devon and on the broads, they passionately stepped up to their “Silktrader” boats on the Thames and they found new special friends in the Thames Motor Yacht Club.

Whilst children became adults , Mum focused on her grandchildren treating each of them as individuals matching their paths learning from them and encouraging them. Staying over on Friday nights for the girls when they were very young was a regular routine and although G+G were much older when Zach arrived he was also allowed to stay sometimes. Zach remembers they spent many hours doing jigsaws and focusing on his education.. For Josh he fondly remembers afternoons doing crosswords and Grandma made sure the goal was always set up in the garden.

Our mother and grandmother was both stylish and elegant. She knew what she wanted. She often hinted clearly rather than asking directly. Mum did not like getting old, she always wanted to maintain control and dignity. She was understated, never demanding. She had very clear opinions of what you wore downstairs, or for going out. She had high standards that bottles should never be on the table., milk should be in a jug, crisps should be in a bowl.

rock of our family

Losing Dad seven years ago was very hard. She made 1 Oak Tree Drive an incredible new home and we had all hoped for her to be there for years to come. She had more visions for the house but since moving there has transformed it.

We are so sad at losing our mum and grandma, our wise mentor, our guide, our rock, our special friend. She was loved by all of us, a rock of our family devoted to Dad with whom she is now reunited.