Ruth Dorothy Butler
November 30, 1922 - July 22, 2018
Ruth Dorothy Butler, age 95, passed away in Salem, Oregon on July 22, 2018 with her family by her side. Ruth was born in Drummond, Idaho on Thanksgiving Day, November 30, 1922 to Claude and Anna Lee. While a high school student in Idaho Falls, Idaho, she met her future husband Gordon Butler at an Eagles dance. They were married in 1940 and had two sons, William (Bill) Lee and Bruce Gordon.
In the 1950’s the family moved to Salem, Oregon, to be close to the Oregon School for the Deaf, where Bill was a student. Ruth worked off and on as a grocery checker when her children were older. Ruth and Gordon bought a 16-acre farm in Dayton, Oregon and built a house there after Gordon’s retirement from the Oregon State Penitentiary in 1973. Ruth and Gordon loved to camp and spent many happy years exploring fishing holes and hiking trails of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
Gordon passed away in 1977, when Ruth was only 54. She spent the next few years caring for her only grandchild, Jennifer, and teaching her to camp and fish and love Oregon. On one of their camping trips, Ruth discovered a group “Loners on Wheels” and she began an adventurous decade traveling solo by motorhome to campouts with her new found kindred spirits. She camped on The Slabs near the Salton Sea in the winter and spent her summers exploring Washington and Oregon.
When her health no longer allowed her to travel alone, Ruth discovered a natural talent and deep passion for writing. She joined two Salem writing groups, “Writing Your Life Story” at the Salem Senior Center and “Writers Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” at the Salem Public Library, where she developed many lasting friendships. Her memoirs, Echoes from the Hills of Idaho and Echoes from Idaho’s Snake River Valley were the fruit these writing groups. Ruth proudly loved to tell people she published her first book at the age of 91! It delighted her to write rhyming poetry and she enjoyed sharing her work at local poetry reading open mics.
For about the last 20 years, Ruth lived with Bruce and Jennifer. They shared many happy times together, including exploring Oregon’s paved biking and hiking trails with Ruth on her mobility scooter and Bruce and Jennifer following along on bicycles. Ruth never passed up an opportunity to enjoy life.
Ruth is survived by her son Bruce, her granddaughter Jennifer and her grandson-in-law, Jorge. Ruth’s husband Gordon, son Bill, brother Rex and sister Mabel preceded her in death.
Ruth and her family thank Willamette Valley Hospice and especially the dedicated and compassionate caregivers at Tokarski Home. Thanks to the excellent care of Dr. Segal, Dr. Cave and Dr. Katz at Kaiser Permanente and Scot Frink and his team at Salem Audiology, Ruth enjoyed an excellent quality of life until her final illness. In lieu of flowers, donations to Willamette Valley Hospice, Oregon School for the Deaf or Willamette Master Chorus are encouraged.
Services will be Friday, July 27, 2018 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 721 Chemeketa St. NE, Salem. Recitation of the rosary will be at 9:30 AM followed by funeral mass at 10:00 AM.
Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.
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