Penticton Okanagan Rotary founder killed in Mexico
Dr. Eric Ruby is being remembered this week as the kind, gentle man with an infectious laugh who always put others before himself.
The longtime Penticton dentist has been identified as the Canadian killed in a cycling accident last Friday in Mazatlán, Mexico.
The incident reportedly happened about 7:45 a.m. when Ruby and his wife Linda were bicycling with a group in the area of the Mazatlán Marina.
He was reportedly struck from behind by a white Nissan Sentra knocking him from his bicycle and resulting in the fatal injuries.
Ruby had owned Penticton Dental Centre up until a few years ago and just recently retired. He and his wife spent their winters in the Mexican resort city.
Tuesday morning. the Penticton Okanagan Rotary Club, which Ruby helped found a quarter century ago, held a service in his memory at their regular meeting.
“You know, you meet certain people in your life that you immediately sense are made of a different cloth and he was surely one of those people. There was no man constructed of a finer cloth than Eric so we will all miss him very, very much,” said club president Malcolm Paterson afterwards. “He’s one of those remarkable people who when he meets you in a gathering makes you feel you’re the only person whose important in the entire world, he had that ability. He was always interested in people, encouraging them, he made us all much better.
“It was just a wonderful meeting this morning and so heart warming in many ways to hear what Eric had done for so many of us.”
Born and raised in Montreal, Ruby and his wife moved to B.C. in 1976 and eventually purchased the dental practice from Dr. Fred Moore.
Previously located on Main Street, the centre has since relocated to Government Street.
Eric and Ruby have two daughters, Alicia Shay Proper and Jessica, who were raised in Penticton.
A note on the Penticton Dental Centre website where employees continue to struggle with news of Ruby’s passing read:
“He will be remembered as a compassionate dentist, a devoted father and husband, and a dedicated community builder. His infectious laugh will be missed by all of us here at Penticton Dental, and he leaves a hole both here and in our hearts that will not quickly be filled. Eric lived a full life, even though it ended far too early at the age of 64.”
Pat Armstrong, who works at the centre, said employees learned about the accident shortly after it happened.
“I’ve been with him since 1990. He’s very active, he’s part of Rotary, he’s part of the arts club, he’s part of the Jewish community. He’s going to be very much missed in the community,” said Armstrong. “He is a very respected man.”
Another Rotarian, Dennis Jacobsen, who had known Ruby for 10 years presented a video and slideshow of Ruby at the morning meeting.
“Eric was just so totally a giving person and the service this morning was a bit of a tear jerker, there were so many people who had so many thoughts,” said Jacobsen, his voice wavering. “We used to have an event called Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and he was organizing that from Mexico, so even though he wasn’t here to participate, he just wanted to see that happen and everybody have fun, that’s the kind of guy he was.”
Jacobsen laughed as he recalled the times he and Ruby spent together through the Rotary offshoot program, Penticton International Gourmet Society.
“It was a lot more fun calling it PIGS than Penticton International Gourmet Society,” said Jacobsen, who had also previously spent vacation time with his friend in Mazatlán.
Paterson added Ruby and his wife were well known in the community for taking brisk walks around town and: “stopping to say hello to various people and just spreading love and good will.
“Eric will be sorely, sorely missed.”
The funeral service will take place Friday (March 18) at the Penticton Lakeside Resort starting at noon followed by burial at Lakeview Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Kelowna located at 2850 Dry Valley Rd.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rotary Foundation at www.rotary.org or directly to the Penticton Okanagan Rotary Club.