A WOMAN who helped repatriate refugees after the Second World War celebrated her 100th birthday in Comber last Saturday.
Ruby Sherwood worked for the United Nations Relief and Repatriation Administration (UNRRA) which managed hundreds of displaced persons camps in Germany, Italy and Austria in 1945, Comber woman ‘with a big personality’ marks 100th birthday along with providing health and welfare assistance. Ruby, herself born into the Jewish faith through her Polish ancestry, was the youngest of four children. After her education at Belfast High School, and shortly after the end of the Second World War, Ruby signed up to work for UNRRA and spent some time in Germany and Holland.
After the war she lived at Ladas Drive in Belfast where she raised her only son, Philip, with the help of her sister Leah who lived with them. During that time Ruby spent many years working as a private secretary to Mr McLaughlin, the director of the Belfast based civil engineering company, McLaughlin and Harvey. Before she retired at the age of 70, Ruby worked for a period for the Multiple Sclerosis charity.
For the last 20 years she has lived in Comber, at the Mews on Killinchy Street and latterly at Mount Alexander House. It meant she was close at hand to her son Philip and his wife Jennifer, who remain regular visitors. Ruby also has two grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They joined her for a day of birthday celebration last Saturday along the former Presbyterian Moderator Rev. Charles McMullen, and Rev. Andrew Conway, Minister of Second Presbyterian Church, Comber.
Standing at less than 5ft tall, Ruby is described by her daughter-in-law Jennifer as having a big personality and having led an interesting life since her school days at Belfast High School. Says Jennifer: “Ruby is very jolly, always smiling and has a lovely personality. “She was always a very pleasant and outgoing person but also a very private person as well. She was always a great one for her continental holidays and loved travelling.”