Ruth Andersen


Oct. 9, 1922 – March 23, 2019

peacefully at St. John’s Hospital on March 23.

Funeral services were conducted Saturday,

March 30, in Pinedale, with burial alongside

family in the Pinedale Cemetery.

Ruth Olson was born at home on Oct. 9,

1922, in Groveland, Idaho. She grew up on a

sugar beet farm with a brother and two sisters,

in a family that was fully self-sufficient, raising

their own vegetables and fruits, as well as

cattle, sheep, chickens and pigs. Ruth and her

sisters helped their mother make butter and

soap for the family, and sold eggs to buy flour

for baking and fabric for their clothing.

Growing up, Ruth liked to play basketball

and baseball in the summers and was even

a cheerleader. She didn’t finish high school,

however, and instead married John Andersen

on Nov. 26, 1940. Over the next few years,

John worked on farms in the Groveland, Pingree

and Blackfoot area and they had two children,

Geraldine and Boyd. John left to serve

in World War II as a medical technician in the

Army, assisting in surgeries and spent time

on Iwo Jima. He was gone for 18 months and

had to leave Ruth when she was six months

pregnant with their third child, Caroline. Ruth

often didn’t know where John was stationed because his letters to her at that time were censored

by the Army.

John returned home in December 1945 and the family moved to Salmon, Idaho. They lived

and worked on various ranches in the Salmon and Leadore areas, before moving to the Hunter

Ranch in Jackson Hole in 1952. Eileen Hunter had lost her husband and needed a ranch foreman

to raise her registered Hereford cattle. The family spent the next 18 years on the ranch

north of Kelly, and the kids attended school and church on Mormon Row. The fourth addition

to the family came when daughter Linda was born. Enduring many harsh winters of the earlier

years on the ranch, their source of travel from their home on Antelope Flats to the main

highway was via snow plane. They spent summers irrigating the alfalfa fields for hay for the

Herefords and gathering firewood for winter, and fishing. John loved to fish and they spent as

much time as possible fishing Slide, Jenny and Jackson lakes, either from shore or in a boat.

Ruth went to work in the kitchen at St. John’s Hospital, starting out as a tray girl and worked

as head cook when she retired. All the food was prepared from scratch at that time which was

easy for Ruth, but accommodating the different diets was a challenge. One day a doctor ordered

a dry liquid diet for a patient, which was a puzzle on what that actually was. The doctor told

Ruth, “Just make it as dry as you can.”

John drove school bus for many years, picking up kids from Kelly, along Antelope Flats and

Mormon Row and either taking them to Moose to catch the bus that came from Moran, or in

the later years driving them to the schools in Jackson.

John, Ruth and Linda moved from the Hunter Ranch to Jackson in 1970. John and Ruth

moved to Pinedale in 1988, and lived there for more than 30 years. When John passed away in

1999, Ruth became even more fiercely independent than she already was, insisting on chopping

and packing her own firewood and mowing her lawn. Ruth had many friends and family in Pinedale,

and became active in the LDS church. Her advancing age and struggle with congestive

heart failure precipitated her moving into Pioneer Homestead in Jackson in 2014.

Ruth loved to read, knit and crochet, and kept friends and family members supplied with

afghans, as well as dishcloths with matching hot pads for many years. She loved spending time

with family, going on picnics and long car rides.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband John, her brother Darwin Olson and sisters

Lorraine Mecham and Veora Belnap, her daughters Caroline Foster and Gerri Barefield, her

grandsons Kevin Andersen and Kirk Campbell and her granddaughter Julie Boyle.

She is survived by her son Boyd (Judy) Andersen of Pinedale, her daughter Linda Hazen

of Jackson along with grandsons Les (Sheree) of Pinedale, Fred (Mickey) Campbell of Kemmerer,

John (Holly) Foster of Victor, Idaho, Wayne (Melissa) Andersen of Boise, Idaho,

and granddaughter Lisa Hazen of Seattle, Wash. Ruth also has 14 great-grandchildren, 16

great-great-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces and their extended families.

Ruth’s children would like to thank the staff at St. John’s Hospital for their compassion and

dedication to their mother’s care, especially Dr. Martha Stearn and Emily Holden.

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