BIO - Ruth von Fuchs
Ruth von Fuchs


    Even when she was a teenager (in the 1950s) Ruth suspected that dying was often more horrible than it needed to be. She doubted that the standard approach to this problem, namely to avoid thinking about it, was the most effective tactic. There being no Canadian right-to-die organizations in those days, she joined an American group called the Euthanasia Educational Council.

     For her B.A. she majored in philosophy and psychology (she was planning to become a United Church minister, at that time) and she later earned an M.A. in philosophy. Still later she changed her vocational plans, went to library school, and spent most of her working life as a specialist in database searching.

     When her mother developed lymphoma, in the 1980s, Ruth more or less lived with her for her last half year, and she saw how that time was poisoned by fear. Her mother was never given the peace that would have come with hearing an expert say "You can escape whenever you decide to, it won't be painful, and I will be with you the whole time."

     In 1991 she read John Hofsess' award-winning article "A Candle in the Wind", in Homemaker's Magazine. The new organization he was forming, the Right to Die Society of Canada, sounded very interesting to her. When its first Toronto meeting was held, Ruth attended along with her husband Themis Anno, and both were active members from then on.

     When Canada's five English-speaking right-to-die groups decided to collaborate on a quarterly newsletter that could go to members of all the groups, thus reducing duplication of effort, Ruth offered to be the editor. Free To Go ran for ten years and was much appreciated by its readers. Word came, however, that the Canada Revenue Agency (which oversees charities) disapproves of a charity sharing a newsletter with a group that is allowed to engage in partisan political activity such as endorsing particular parties or politicians. Dying With Dignity, one of the groups served by Free To Go, is a charity. But the Right to Die Society has refrained from getting charitable status and is allowed to be partisan. In order to safeguard DWDs charitable status, Free To Go was retired and a single-group publication the Right to Die Society of Canada Newsletter is now being produced, with Ruth as editor.