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Ruth McLeman (nee Trainer)
01/01/1950 - 19/02/20

A Personal Tribute by Andrew McLeman on 20/02/02

Picture circa 1996

Ruth died on 19th February 2002, aged only 52, following a short illness and a long battle against the effects of her alcohol dependence, and yet despite everything, she was truly loved deeply to the very end and will be a huge loss to both me and our sons Ewan and Neill. The sadness is only tempered by the knowledge that her own and some of our suffering has ended.

As very nearly  the first baby of the second  half of the 20th century  Ruth was always destined to make an impact on our lives. She was brought up by her mother alone with the help of her grandfather, spending all her childhood in Maryhill, Glasgow. She excelled at school (North Kelvinside HS) and following sailing through her 'Highers' in her 5th year decided to leave to take up a job as a clerical assistant in the Inland Revenue rather than continue for a sixth year at school.

 She was excellent at her job and was soon promoted to Tax Officer and then Tax Officer Higher Grade, and then groomed as 'a high flyer' and offered training to become an Inspector at the very early age of 22. As this would have meant being flexible about being mobile and inevitably being sent to London she decided that she would turn the offer down as she was by then soon to be married. We had met me when we were both still at school, and we have been together without a break since that time.

We were married in November 1973 in Wellington Church, Glasgow starting our married life in new house in Larbert, Stirlingshire, as I was working at a branch office in Falkirk at the time. While she commuted to Glasgow by train initially, she then got the chance to transfer to the Stirling  Tax Office and therefore reduce her commuting time. She spent about five happy years there and again as she was so well thought of and a capable group leader, she was even reconsidering the renewed offer of promotion to Inspector. This thought was however interrupted by the news of the arrival of our first son Ewan who was born  in October 1979, and she decided to permanently resign from the Revenue to become a full time housewife and mother.  

As I was by then working back in Glasgow and her work ties with Stirlingshire had now been severed, we moved house back to the West, settling in Milton of Campsie, near Kirkintilloch in 1980. Neill was born in February 1982 and we lived very happily there till 1989 when we moved East again to Mid Calder, again due to my work as I had taken the opportunity to run my firms office in Edinburgh.

For a couple of years before we left Milton of Campsie, Ruth had returned to work part time, working for the 'other side' in the tax department of Chartered Accountants  Spicer and Peggler (who later became Johnston Bannerman McLay). Again here she became a valued employee and with mutual regret parted with them when we moved East in 1989

On moving East she got a job, again part time, almost immediately with Accountants Fraser George in Edinburgh, and as always she soon became a valued employee for two years before taking up a similar part time position much closer to home in charge of the tax department of local West Calder accountancy firm of  Brian Maloney and Co. and who she was with approximately five years. Apart form  a couple of short spells she had preferred to always work part time, so she would always be there for the boys when they came home from school. She had not worked much over the last couple of years but did manage to hold down and enjoy a dental receptionist's job for six months or so at the time I started my own surveying practice.

We can look back on many happy years and holidays that include a 'magnet' down to Cornwall , about five years with our caravan including trips to France and all over Scotland, and more recently numerous trips to most of the Mediterranean islands (especially Crete) on the 'less effort' package type she enjoyed so much.

Its hard to say when her dependence to alcohol started - there were perhaps hints over ten years ago that there might be a problem however it really only surfaced fully about 8 years ago. And in the middle of that time she had, for example, after treatment stayed completely 'dry' for over nine months and put her life back on track, and could be perfectly good for long periods at others. Its perhaps too easy to remember the times of hurt and disappointment over these positives. It however increasingly became a greater battle against health and relationships because of the drinking and the ability for us all to 'keep this secret'. Contributory factors were the strain of her mothers long illness and death, where she  seemed for no good reason have deep feelings of guilt and regret, and an almost fruitless search for her unknown father was perhaps also another factor. 

It is a regret that so many friendships understandably disappeared over this period, however despite everything the boys and my own love and support never diminished. We had times of real pain but we never gave up trying. She had ultimately nearly broken her dependence but by then the damage had been done.

Prolonged drinking to excess damages the liver and other organs, however since last summer she had in addition reduced her food intake to almost nothing and this resulted in general weakness an a spell in hospital over Christmas and New Year, she also had developed a skin condition related to her liver problems which covered her body in a terrible red rash. Despite now drinking only moderately, unknown to everyone including the almost daily treatment for her skin by the District Nurses, she was losing body temperature very gradually until parts of her mental process and body began to 'shut down', She was re-admitted to St John's hospital on Monday 18th where hypothermia was then diagnosed with a body temperature 10 degrees less than normal due to the excessive loss heat through the skin, but despite efforts to reverse her temperature and due to a very low blood pressure and non existent platelet count the hospital were powerless to stop the progressive shutdown of her organs, and other than treat her with morphine to ease the pain there was little else that could by then be done. She passed away peacefully on Tuesday just before 6.00 pm with her family at her bedside. 

We tried 'everything'  but the addiction always finally beat all our efforts. It has been a strain and we have survived, many happy memories thankfully intact.

She never really understood my love of the internet and would probably have hated the fact that it was being used for a tribute especially one that laid bare the aspects of her life that she knew herself was systematically destroying relationships and friendships, but just couldn't stop.

We remember the good times, there were so many along with the not so good, she will be loved forever by us all. She is at peace now and we must rebuild our lives. For all that knew her she valued her many friendships, and we know she never stopped loving us all, and we have always loved her. She was so extremely proud of Ewan and Neill and how so well they turned out, may their lives continue to be a living testimonial of her achievement.

Writing this, while painful, has helped

"I will love you always"

  • Andrew

Ruth's funeral will be held at the Pentland Chapel at Mortonhall Crematorium, Edinburgh on Friday 22nd February 2002 at 09:10 am

An extremely proud moment in Ruth's recent life was seeing Ewan Graduate from St Andrews University only last year. 

21st Feb 2002

A friend sent this poem which has helped at this sad time

                         "COURAGE" or *"Remember Me"

You can shed tears that she has gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.

 You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

 Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
Or you can be full of the love you shared. 

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her, and only that she's gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what she'd want,
Smile, open your eyes, love, and go on.

(*David Harkins)

*POSTCRIPT - This poem was co-incidentally used by the Queen on the cover of the Order of  Service at The Queen Mothers' funeral held on 9th April 2002.
click this link to read the articles and how 'we' got a mention on the front page of "
The Times" on 11th April 2002. -  www.mcleman.org/times.html - This page also includes correspondence between me and *David Harkins - the original Author of the poem (actually titled "Remember Me") in August 2002


This kind tribute was posted on Steve and Chase Gallienís website on 20th Feb 2002

We are so sad about the passing of
Ruth McLeman
January 1st, 1950 - February 19th, 2002
Ruth died Tuesday evening after a long battle with illness.
Our hearts go out to her husband, Andrew
and her boys, Ewan & Neill.

Ruth was a very important part of some very special memories for us.
We consider ourselves lucky to have had her in our wedding
and to have known her at all.


OTHER TRIBUTES (added 11/4/02)

Firstly on behalf of Ewan Neill and myself I must thank the many friends who wrote cards , letters or e-mails expressing sympathy and support, 
Thanks to you all - your messages were all of great help to allow us to move forward in a positive fashion - Andrew

From them all, and there were so many, - I have extracted some of the particular comments made on Ruth's life 

"She was far too young and vibrant to have her life end there"

"..thankfully Ruth left you two great boys who will support you at this time"

"I shall always remember Ruth as a most lovely person. While she was my boss she was also my friend. She was clearly very clever and always helpful to myself and other colleagues"

"The sadness is such a contrast to the happy summer days at St Andrews when we last saw you both"

"I remember her with affection as  she was so helpful to me when I started in the Tax Office - Happy Days!"

"We will always remember Ruth as the life and soul of the party"

"Ruth was such a warm, vibrant person. I couldn't help remembering the happy times we spent with you at Larbert and Milton of Campsie. We always had such a relaxed evening with a lot of laughter"

"We will always remember Ruth with affection and our hearts go out to you at this sad time"

"It's a great tribute to you both that the boys have done so well"

---------------------Thanks again to everyone who wrote !-------------------

It is also surprising how many people have also 'opened up' to reveal how alcoholism has touched their own families and their 'particular' understanding has been very helpful.

Follow this link to "The  Times" article on the the search for the author of the poem as also used at the Queen Mothers Funeral in April 02  www.mcleman.org/times.html

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Email:  * andrew@mcleman.net  
*sorry this e-mail is not now an "automatic" link and so we would ask you to simply to copy/paste it into an e-mail header- (the reason is that spammers and virus originators are now trawling the internet and using these e-mail links to send their messages and/or  viruses as if they came from us!)