A special angel has returned home skipping and running to see all those who passed before her on May 20, 2019.
Ruth Blackburn was born on Feb. 14, 1927 in American Falls, ID. She was the fifth child of eight born to Dewey Earl Blackburn and Valine Ellen Gutting Blackburn. She grew up in the Springfield, ID, town site.
Her family owned a mercantile store there and at an early age Ruth was helping her dad as a store clerk. She said she always loved being around her father and the many people that frequented the store. The post office was located in a corner of the store, at the early age of 14 years old, she was sworn in as a postal clerk. This position allowed her to help her mother who was the postmaster.
She attended elementary school in Springfield and bussed to Aberdeen for high school. She had lots of fun during her high school years. She was a cheerleader, played basketball, tumbling, Student Body President, and earned the Citizenship award. Her class of 1945 was a very close bunch of friends. They continued to have regular class reunions, until just a few years ago. Now, they have a corner in the Aberdeen Park and those still here meet during Aberdeen Days. Ruth attended Utah State University for two years.
While working in the family store, she kept cold pop in the cooler for a young fellow named Keith (just in case he stopped by). On Nov. 28, 1947 she married Keith Gneiting in Elko, NV. They were sealed in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple on May 16, 1969. They were blessed with three children, Jay, Vickie, and Daniel. Keith passed away Oct. 9, 2007 after 60 years of marriage.
The first year of their marriage, Ruth taught third, fourth, and fifth grades, all in the same room in the Springfield school house. She loved those kids and that was always a highlight of her life. She substitute taught in the Aberdeen School District for over 20 years. In 1969 she was delighted to teach the third grade in Grandview. For 16 years, during the harvest, Ruth worked at the Aberdeen beet dump weighing trucks. She could always be seen driving a truck, a tractor, riding a horse, or cooking meals for hired hands, whatever working on the farm next to her husband required.
One of Ruth’s passions was politics. In 1982 Ruth decided to throw her hat into the race and run for state representative. She spent hours campaigning and meeting her constituents. Just a few weeks before the election on Oct. 21, while trucking cows from the summer range, Ruth rolled her cattle truck. This left her paralyzed and a new way of life began. This event didn’t stop her, with her optimistic attitude; she kept life busy and fruitful for all around her.
Ruth was very active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had a great love for the Gospel. She exemplified her faith in Jesus by unselfishly dedicating her time each week to do hair, cook meals, and be a friend to many widows and inbound neighbors. She loved working in the Primary and served on the Stake Board and as Stake Primary President for 17 years combined. She has served in the Relief Society, Sunday School, and the Young Woman program. Ruth served 23 years on the LIFE Board; this council provided services for Independent Living for Everyone. She also was on the Idaho State Independent Living Council in Boise for six years.
She loved her family and being with them. She never met a stranger, and had the unique gift of always seeing the good in everyone.
Ruth was preceded in death by: her husband, Keith; her parents; three brothers; and three sisters; a granddaughter, Shamae; and two great-granddaughters. She is survived by: her three children and their spouses, Jay and Linda Gneiting of Pocatello, Vickie and Ron Gentillon of Pingree, Daniel and Deb Gneiting of Firth; a nephew she helped raise, Brian and Margaret Goff of Aberdeen; a sister, Nada Shellhammer of Woodland, CA. She is also survived by 22 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren which were her pride and joy, and many nephews and nieces who loved her dearly.
The family of Ruth would like to thank the staff at the Gables II for the love and care they showed during her two years she called it home. Each one of the staff held a very special spot in her heart. They would also like to thank the Bingham Memorial Skilled Nursing and Rehab for the consideration and respect shown during her last months.
A Viewing at Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Ave., Blackfoot, was held Monday, May 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Funeral services were held at the Lakeview Church, Springfield, Tuesday, May 28, at 11 a.m. with a viewing one hour prior to services.
Memories of Ruth and condolences to her family can be shared at www.hawkerfuneralhome.com.
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