Early in the morning hours of a cold and snowy March 6, 2019, our beloved mother and grandmother, Virginia Ruth Robinson (Known as Ruth to her family and friends) passed away in her bed in her apartment at Edgewood Senior Living in Helena, Montana. For the past two years, she had been fighting several serious health issues, including advanced osteoporosis (A hereditary condition in her family) which had caused her pain for several years.
In addition to these problems, on the morning of December 31, 2018, she fell and broke her hip, requiring corrective surgery on New Year’s Day at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena. The surgery was successful and she celebrated her 89th birthday in St. Peter’s two days later. Unfortunately, she developed pneumonia during her recovery. She rallied for a time, but approximately three weeks ago her overall health began to deteriorate and she started to weaken. She entered Hospice Care shortly thereafter. Cause of death was attributed to Atrial Fibrillation and Congestive Heart Failure.
Mom was born in Atwood, Colorado, on January 3, 1930, to Leonard Guy Jones and Florence Anna Jane (Saul) Jones, as the youngest of six children (Leonard, Lenore, Lucille, Lawrence, Lloyd, and Virginia). After living in Atwood during the early part of her life, at the beginning of the third grade (In 1939) she was sent by her parents to Ivey Creek (A fairly remote rural area in northcentral Wyoming) to provide company for her oldest sister Lenore, who was living alone and teaching in a small country school.
The two girls lived in a curtained-off section at the rear of the one-room schoolhouse for two years while Lenore completed her teaching assignment. In those days, the teachers at country schools were dependent on the school patrons for most of their living needs – shelter, water, firewood, coal, perishable food items, and transportation. Typically this arrangement worked well, since the school patrons valued the efforts of the teachers and considered a happy teacher to be a good teacher for their children. Following that two-year period, Lenore married a young man from a small nearby town (Arvada, Wyoming) and moved there to continue her teaching career.
Mom, meanwhile, moved to a ranch near Recluse, Wyoming, another small nearby community and lived with relatives (Raymond and Ada Weischedel and their family). While she was living with the Weischedels, her parents moved in 1941 also from Colorado to Arvada. After completing the eighth grade, Mom joined them in Arvada and completed her high schooling, graduating as part of the class of 1948 which consisted of only 6 or 7 students. During the period from 1939 to 1948, summers were spent back in Atwood, caring for nieces and nephews. While attending high school she worked as a waitress and dishwasher at the cafe in Arvada. Her pay was 50 cents for a weeknight and $1 for Saturday or Sunday.
Although Arvada was a very small town, it was located on the main line of the CB&Q Railroad (Now part of BNSF) between the midwest and west coast of the country. As a result, during the war years (1941-1945), many military troop trains passed through. When this happened the high school girls would go to the depot and wave to the service men as the trains passed. If the trains stopped, the girls would give their addresses to the young men so they could write to them. They would also hand out cookies and candy. All part of the war effort.
On September 29, 1949, Ruth married Robert L. Robinson in Sheridan, Wyoming. They had been dating in high school. They had two children, Karen Ruth and Robert W. (Bob). They lived in Arvada until 1957, when they moved to Hardin, Montana, where they remained until 1976. While living in Hardin, Mom worked for the Big Horn Bank (Now 1st Interstate Bank) and Dad worked for the CB&Q Railroad and later for the Montana Highway Department. In 1976 they moved to Big Sky, Montana, and operated a gas station and convenience store until 1979 whereupon they moved once again, this time to Helena, Montana. In Helena, Dad operated a gas station (Mtn. View Chevron) and Mom worked first at KG Men’s Store and later at Waldenbooks. She enjoyed both jobs, but as an avid reader, she especially enjoyed working at Waldenbooks and was saddened when it closed.
Dad died in early 2005 and widowhood was difficult for Mom to accept after being married to the same man for 55 years. As time passed, however, she adapted and made new friends and found other things to occupy herself. She lived independently until 2010 when she moved into her son’s home. In mid-2018 she moved to the Edgewood Senior Living facility in Helena, where she remained until her passing.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, her husband (Robert), all five of her siblings and their spouses, her sister-in-law and husband (Carol and Lloyd Malli), and nephews (Jeffrey and Don Malli). She is survived by her daughter Karen (Tom) Hopfauf of Hardin, MT; son Robert (Bob) Robinson of Helena; granddaughters Tami (Bruce Hamilton) Hathaway of Helena, Tanya (Jason) Watson of Hardin, and Tiffany (Derek) Hofer of Helena; great-granddaughters Brianna and Brooke Hathaway of Helena, Ashley and Alexandra (Taylor Morin) Watson of Hardin, and Audrey Hofer of Helena; great-grandson Jacob Hofer of Butte; great-great-grandson Tatum John Morin of Hardin; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was especially happy with the arrival of Tatum on April 25, 2018 and was able to meet him in person.
Per her wishes, there will be no services. Cremation has taken place and her remains will be interred next to Dad’s at the little community cemetery in Arvada, Wyoming in the spring.
Ruth was a small, quiet mannered, gentle woman who always put others first. She loved and was proud of all the members of her family and, in turn, was loved by them and is already being missed greatly. The family takes comfort in knowing that Mom is now free of pain at last. Fortunately, her legacy will survive in part as she leaves namesakes behind – daughter Karen Ruth, granddaughter Tanya Ruth, and great-granddaughter Ashley Ruth.
Ruth’s family would like to extend special thanks to the staff of Edgewood Senior Living for their thoughtfulness and wonderful treatment, care, and compassion while she was a resident.
No services will be held at this time. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Ruth.