Obituary of Sandra Rutenberg

  Sandra Johanna Rutenberg was born October 14, 1939 in Richmond Hill, Ontario, to Lilian Theresa Livie and Jacob Koning. She passed away peacefully in Kingston, Ontario on February 28, 2024 after a short illness. She married David Rutenberg in 1963; he predeceased her in 2014. She is survived by her brother Wayne (Fran), her two loving sons, Michael (Gloria) and Andrew (Lidija), and her four grandchildren (Lorena, Sebastian, Sara, and Katarina).

Sandra attended Victoria College at University of Toronto for English Literature and completed her degree at UC Berkeley while starting a family. She had a lifelong interest in families and family systems, and earned a PhD in Counsellor Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She taught briefly at Queen’s University and ran a family therapy practice in Kingston.

Sandra enjoyed nature, researching family histories, reading interesting books, and being with her dog. With determination and a joy for life, she sang alto in two choirs, and was enthusiastic about her poetry, memoir, and book groups. She was nurtured by her house, garden, and cottage. She thrived in the company of friends, community, and family, and she made everyone welcome. We will miss her.

A service followed by a reception will be this Tuesday, March 5 at 10:30 am at The Spire (82 Sydenham St. in Kingston). Online condolences may be left at In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to the Skeleton Park Arts Festival – which she relished – or to the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.

2 thoughts on “Obituary of Sandra Rutenberg

  • I sang with Sandra as a fellow alto in the Kingston Choral Society, and was happy to visit with her at cultural events of many kinds. We’ll miss her at choir, and her memory will live in our hearts and our music.

  • Sandra was a wonderful person and fantastic neighbor! We shared a laneway for 21 years, often stopping to chat at length about family news. She was smart and always had interesting things to say. Whenever I mentioned that I was thinking about making some property “improvements,” Sandra always immediately voiced her opinion (sometimes useful, sometimes not), never too pushy but always sharp and engaged – more outdoor lights might perhaps scare away the birds at night; cutting down a particular tree would let too much sun in; paving the laneway would lead to flooding and ice. I loved our impromptu exchanges and will miss them. We also often bumped into each other while out walking our dogs. Dog walkers are usually frustratingly polite and predictable. Sandra was not – she always had something to say. There was gossip, yes, and complaints; but lots of laughter, curiosity, and sincere interest and caring. Her death does not seem real, since Sandra was such a powerful living force. She lived by herself, was always doing something, and had a lively social life (as far as I could tell – we often bumped into each other at some local event). What a genuine, happy, and strong person! It was a privilege to know her.

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