OLTMANN, Charlotte “Ruthie”

1937 – 2022

Charlotte Ruth Oltmann (Ruthie), 85, long time resident of Exshaw, AB, came to the end of her earthly journey on November 13, 2022 in Cochrane, AB at the Hawthorne Assisted Living Community. She was born on February 27, 1937 in Ottawa, ON, the third daughter of George Hjalmar Oltmann and Beulah Winifred MacKenzie. Ruthie grew up in a large family with six more children born after her. Her siblings are now spread across Canada and feeling the distance.
Ruthie led a life of adventure in her beloved mountains, having worked her way west in the mid 1960’s as an office temporary worker and legal secretary. She found her niche in the Canadian Rockies where her varied careers included running hostels in the mountains, cooking in the backcountry, working in Kananaskis information centers, and writing books. All these led to many adventures, many chronicled in her most recent book; Ruthie’s Trails, A Lifetime of Adventure. Writing was a passion for Ruthie. She kept a personal journal for most of her life and published several books. Her titles include; The Kananaskis Valley Hikers and X-C Skiers Guide; The Valley of Rumours…the Kananaskis; Lizzie Rummel Baroness of the Canadian Rockies; My Valley – the Kananaskis; and countless articles published in various magazines and journals. She was considered an authority on the Kananaskis Valley through her research, writing and love of exploring “my valley”.
Ruthie spread “mountain fever” to all she met with her unbridled love of mountaineering in all its forms and never lost her joy at a good hike, despite health challenges in later years. Parkinson’s Disease was an unexpected challenge, but she lived well for many years by continuing to hike and live an active and engaged life in her mountain communities.
Ruthie’s faith was also a central focus in her life. She graduated from Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto in 1959 with a diploma in English Bible. She was an active member of the Trinity Bible Church in Canmore, AB where she enjoyed using her singing voice and piano talent to glorify her Saviour. She felt at peace to be “going home” and was looking forward to meeting Jesus.
Family and friends were very important to Ruthie. She was the keeper of the family tree and enjoyed documenting the history of the Oltmann, Johnsrud, and MacKenzie clans. Left to mourn are seven siblings: Joanne (Earl Hanna, deceased), Kitty Barratt, Brian (Vanessa Grant), Dave (Irene, deceased), Ingrid (Stuart Cummings), Nora Lea (Wayne Arcand), Phillip (Jan Bystrom), many nieces, nephews, and cousins, and innumerable very good friends, many lifelong. Ruthie was predeceased by her brother Neil (Lilianne, deceased) on September 30, 2022.
Following cremation, funeral service will be held November 28, 11:00am at the Exshaw Legion with a light lunch to follow, to join the live stream of the service please click following link; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88450085756. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to further the work of Trinity Bible Church Canmore (office@trinitycanmore.com (403) 678 – 5063) or Bow Valley Baptist Church Cochrane (https://bowvalleybaptist.com/ (403) 932 – 4601).

Cochrane Country Funeral Home – cochrane@piersons.ca

Arrangements entrusted to Emily Champ, Funeral Director

  1. On November 17, 2022 at 8:55 pm Beverley bell Said:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Ruthie’s passing. My deepest condolences
    Beverley xo

  2. On November 18, 2022 at 11:43 am Linda Orton Said:

    I’m glad we got to know our cousin Ruthie– Better later in life than never! We American cousins are grateful for her efforts to bring biological family together. It was great to see someone living life doing things she loved. Her warmth and smile will be misseed at our next Johnsrud family reunion but we can’t help smiling at the reunions she is now enjoying and the pain she leaves behind. Well lived, Ruthie!

  3. On November 20, 2022 at 8:10 pm Mike & Maria Haines Said:

    Someone so special will not be forgotten, wonderful memories will live on forever in our hearts
    we will never forget.
    Our Deepest Condolences

    Mike & Maria Haines

  4. On November 21, 2022 at 12:04 pm shaun connor Said:

    sure was a pleasure seeing Ruthie walking the streets of Exshaw back in the day. we had great conversations about climbing mountains.

  5. On November 21, 2022 at 8:19 pm Angela Ovens Said:

    Dear, Dear Ruthie. I have more fond memories of you than I can count. Thank you for your well lived life. I am confident you are now exploring new and amazing places. You have given us all so much.

  6. On November 22, 2022 at 6:51 am Dan Michael M Melody Said:

    Another Legend passes to the hikes beyond us.
    She introduced so many to the mountains she loved as well as those she admired and loved ahead of her with her amazing books about the Pioneers she admired.
    Ruthie will be missed deeply by many.

  7. On November 22, 2022 at 11:17 am Stan And Liz Williams Said:

    Ruthie had a tremendous journey; one to be emulated for a good life. Still our tears flow. We miss her lovely smile and contagious laugh. The photo on her obituary is certainly appropriate. Our condolences to the family and so many friends. So sorry for your loss. God’s speed Ruthie. Until…..❤️

  8. On November 22, 2022 at 12:36 pm Jean Kensit Said:

    Ruthie was person who collected people. I greatly admired her initiative and persistence in the face of her many health challenges.
    She will certainly be missed but always remembered . I will always ‘ see’ her on my annual Bow valley hike.

  9. On November 23, 2022 at 6:57 pm Jean Finley Said:

    Was fortunate to enjoy many cups of tea and bowls of soup with Ruthie over the years before she moved away to Calgary. She was always generous, also unbiased toward mountain folk no matter their club affiliations. Fond memories of a good woman and unforgettable friend. Missing her in the valley. So glad to have known her even these few years.

  10. On November 25, 2022 at 12:02 pm Joel Christensen Said:

    Ruth was a real mountain person and was able to convey her love of the mountains to just about anyone. I worked with Ruth for many years in her role at the Barrier Lake Visitor Information Centre. She could be cantankerous at times, but always ended up making me smile. The Kananaskis Valley will miss her as a champion for keeping the environment healthy. Go happy to your new adventures, Ruth.

  11. On November 25, 2022 at 4:06 pm Tom Partello Said:

    I met Ruthie in the early 2000’s after retiring to Canmore. Ruthie introduced me to hiking in Kananaskis and was always a friendly face eager to share her vast knowledge of Kananaskis. Because of my volunteer work with Alberta parks she shared many stories about her time at the Kananaskis Hostel & working with the Local Ranger.
    I will always have fond memories of Ruthie. She will be greatly missed & Kananaskis will have a tough time moving forward with out it’s dedicated sister.
    Happy trails Ruthie.

  12. On November 26, 2022 at 8:02 am Hazel Hutchins Said:

    With fond memories of Ruth. Condolences to her family.

  13. On November 27, 2022 at 3:52 pm Ron Chamney Said:

    A character as strong as the mountains she loved. A solid generous lady who was always firm but fair. I first met Ruthie in the late 70’s and was thrilled to see her join us in Kananaskis. We worked together for over 20 years and we always enjoyed each other’s company. I have always had tremendous respect for who and what Ruthie was, she will be sadly missed. Thanks for all the tea and conversations, happy trails Ruthie.

  14. On November 28, 2022 at 10:01 am Jill Wilhelm Said:

    My family lived in Exshaw for a while and we were trying to start a church there. Ruthie was so friendly and helpful, and She had a heart for the lost. I remember her hosting a meal with our mission volunteers one evening. She served Valbella sausages and heated orange Gatorade. She insisted that we wait until the Gatorade was sufficiently warm. This is a fond memory of Ruthie. She was full of spunk and loved life.

    She will be missed!

    Jill and David Wilhelm

  15. On November 28, 2022 at 2:13 pm Franca Said:

    I will always be grateful to Ruthie for sharing her extensive knowledge and experience with me on the countless hikes we shared. Her love and passion for the mountains created a lasting memory for me.. I feel honoured to have shared time with her. I will always remember her with love.

  16. On November 29, 2022 at 8:05 am Phill Oltmann Said:

    On behalf of the immediate family, let me thank all who have sent cards, responded here, or/and were at the funeral, whether in person or by Zoom, for your support. The large crowd at the Exshaw Legion showed two things: 1 Albertans are not afraid of poor roads, 2 Ruthie impacted many more folk than we could comprehend.

    Thank you all once more!


  17. On January 5, 2023 at 9:04 pm Randy Osterlin Said:

    I met Ruthie in the summer of 1967 when we were both neophytes (Ruthie’s word) in mountain hiking with the Youth Hostel organization. We met fellow hikers and got to love hiking in the mountains. I reconnected with Ruthie via email in 2018 when I stumbled across her blog, and we shared memories from 51 years previous. She told me that I was in her Ruthie’s Trails book through a photograph on page 22. A great and inspiring lady!

  18. On February 8, 2023 at 7:20 pm Ben Seghers Said:

    Thanks Ruthie for all the hikes and camping trips in K-Country and dinners at Exshaw from 1981 to 1988 when I moved to the U.K.

  19. On March 10, 2023 at 2:36 pm Brookie Said:

    I loved Ruthie! She was a true kindred spirit. Always so kind, and encouraging. Our phone chats were the best. She always called me Brookie, and we’d email back and forth as well because of the distance. Ruthie was a rare treasure who left an imprint on each person’s soul. She would pray with me and that was one of my fav parts of our phone calls. We both would watch Downton Abbey and send each other photos from camping trips…I treasured our friendship. Ruthie, can’t wait to hug you again in heaven. I love you.

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