Ruta Graubics Goodwin passed away peacefully, after a long struggle with Dementia, on the morning of Friday, January 17, 2020. She was 77 years old. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Erna Graubics, and survived by her husband of 54 years, Ray Goodwin; her son, Eriks Goodwin and son-in-law, Klaus Goodwin; her brother, Karlis Graubics, his wife, Beverly and their sons, John and Karlis Graubics Jr. and their families. Ruta was born in Saldus, in the Republic of Latvia, in 1942, at the height of World War II. Her family was forced to flee their farm and country in 1944 when the Soviet Union occupied Latvia. For the remainder of the war and afterward, they lived in displaced persons camps in Germany until they were sponsored for immigration to the United States in 1949 by Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Virginia. The Graubics family soon became positive and contributing members of the local community, while Ruta and her brother were educated in the Augusta County Public Schools. She met Ray, her future husband, while earning a BA in Fine Arts from Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University). Ruta and Ray married after graduation at the same church that had sponsored Ruta's family's immigration to this country. Ruta worked in retailing at a management level for two department stores in the Washington, D.C., area before their son, Eriks, was born. She was a "stay at home mom" until Eriks entered high school. Then she worked in various horticulture jobs part-time while returning to college to learn computer programming analysis. She went on to a successful career in that profession until retirement. Ruta loved her family. She was a beautiful, happy and outgoing person. She and Ray enjoyed many friendships, travel and cruises, social events, and just having fun. Ray is an active member of the Shriners and they both became volunteer leaders in Acca Shrine and Shriners Hospitals for Children - Philadelphia where Ray is an Emeritus member and Past Chairman of the Board of Governors. After retiring, Ruta became a member of Midlothian Garden Club because of her love for horticulture. She participated actively until her dementia became a significant issue. She faced this disease with courage and strength until the end. She is dearly loved by her family and will be deeply missed. The family will receive friends at the West Chapel of Bennett Funeral Home, 11020 West Broad Street, Glen Allen, VA 23060 on Monday, January 20, 2020, from 2 until 4 p.m. and 6 until 8 p.m. A service will be held at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 9800 West Huguenot Road, Richmond, VA 23235 at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. At 2 p.m. the same day, the committal service and burial will be in the cemetery at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1140 Ladd Road, Waynesboro, Va. In lieu of flowers contribution can be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children-Philadelphia, 3551 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140.
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