It is with great sadness we share with our members and supporters the news of the recent passing of much-loved former Recfishwest Events and Membership Officer Ruth Sprague.
Ruth joined the Recfishwest team in mid-2014 as an Admin and Membership Officer and quickly became the friendly face at the front desk of the Recfishwest office and the cheery voice on the other end of the phone dealing with Recfishwest members, suppliers and members of the public.
Ruth really thrived in the events and membership space, but also effectively became the surrogate office mum, always with a big smile, a sympathetic ear and more often than not some home-baked treat to help keep the office in good cheer.
She played a key role in the Purple Flyfishing initiative as a passionate advocate for the work of Breast Cancer Care WA for which fishing clinics were organised to help women with breast cancer experience the well-being and relaxation gained from flyfishing.
A cheery driving force
Ruth organised the funding, the venue, the catering, liaison with the Breast Cancer Care WA, fly–fishing instructors, apparel and sponsors.
One of the driving forces in the Recfishwest engine room, Ruth worked tirelessly behind the scenes at almost every boat show, delivering membership services, merchandise, safety messaging and show admin. She ran the kids Halco lure colouring-in competition, a big favourite with families attending the boat show.
She also played an important part in the first ever Snapper Guardians event in February 2016, as she did with each subsequent Snapper Guardians – organising logistics and branded apparel.
Ruth often was Recfishwest’s welcoming extended hand to the community and it was in this spirit Ruth facilitated our partnership with IntoWork – a work opportunity agency through which John Stubie came to work with us one day a week.
A popular character at the office, Johnny, who has Asperger’s, loved the Recfishwest team environment and loved seeing Ruth every Tuesday morning helping pack member bags, pack lures, and organising kids fishing clinic gear.
This was just another example of how Ruth’s infectious warmth made people feel welcomed and part of the team, which combined with her get-it-done attitude made Ruth a highly valued and popular member of the Recfishwest family.
In turn, Ruth made the Recfishwest team feel connected with her family by talking as a proud wife, mum and grandmother about all her husband’s, kids’ and grandies’ achievements and news.
Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said, “Ruth was a people-person through and through and whether dealing with Recfishwest members, Board members or staff members, she made everyone feel looked after and valued.
“She was so often the one who did the hard yards behind the scenes to make our events happen, doing all the small unglamorous jobs that go into events coordination and services to our members. Her infectious attitude and legendary cake-baking skills helped keep the team morale running high!
“She will be greatly missed by all staff and Board members alike along with many Recfishwest members whom came to know Ruth with great affection. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Ruth’s husband, Bob, her children Julie-Anne, Lyndall and James, along with the rest of her family.”