Obituary - Ruth Wilson Oliver
December 18, 2016
On December 3, 2016, Ruth Wilson Oliver passed away quietly at the age of 97.
Ruth Elizabeth Jenkins was born on May 28th, 1919 at the Bar Cross Ranch in Cora, Wyoming to Perry Wilson and Eva Smith Jenkins. Ruth spent her summers on the Bar Cross Ranch, and attended grade school in Big Piney, Wyoming until the family winter residence was moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Ruth attended East High School and the University of Utah, where she majored in Art and Anthropology and was a member of Delta Gamma sorority. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1941.
Ruth met Robert "Bob" Woodrow Wilson, of Recluse, Wyoming, on the Bar Cross in 1935. She and Bob were married in Salt Lake City on February 20th, 1943 at the Jenkins home. While Bob served overseas in WWII, Ruth worked in SLC as a service representative for Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Upon Bobís Army discharge, they moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, where Bob managed gold claims on the Forty Mile River. While at Steel Creek, Alaska, Ruth was appointed Post Mistress for the area US Post Office, the youngest woman in Alaska to hold that position.
In 1951, Ruth and Bob returned to the family ranches in Wyoming, taking over the Willow Creek place. The family owned Willow Creek until 1961, when they purchased the old Billy Buyer Ranch on Pine Creek. Ruth and Bob shared a passion for entertaining, and were active members of the community, particularly the Dance Club, Pinedale Congregational Church, and the Ski Sporting Association.
Ruth served two terms on the Sublette County Library Board, was President of the Friends of the Library, and was appointed to the State Library Advisory Council from 1968 to 1971. In 1971, she was elected President of the Wyoming State Library Association. In 1980, Ruth was selected to serve on the Wyoming State Council for the Humanities, co-chairing the program "Death and Dying," which received a Peabody nomination. Ruth also directed the program "The Spoken Words of Four Sublette County Ranch women," and was an editor for the "Pictorial History of Sublette County".
After Bobís passing, Ruth retired from ranching and married Paul Oliver in 1989, splitting her time between Wickenburg, Arizona and Star Valley Ranch. She finally returned home to Pinedale permanently in 2008. At the time of her death she was the oldest living Sublette County Native.
Ruth was an avid outdoorswoman, regularly skiing (water and snow), golfing, hiking, boating, and spending long days in the saddle moving cattle. She was a dedicated member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a champion gardener, animal lover, an inspired designer and cook, and a talented seamstress.
Even in retirement Ruth remained filled with an adventurous spirit: she toured the Arizona countryside in a hot air balloon in December 2006, and she skydived for her 88th birthday a few months later. That escapade was indicative of how she lived her life: playfully embracing it with courage, grace, and joy.
Ruth is survived by her sons Gary Scott and Wade Shannon Wilson, granddaughters Audrey Morris and Jeni Wilson, a grandson, two great-granddaughters Adelaide and Harleigh Beth Morris, and two great-grandsons Bodhi Nicholas and Kanai McKenna. She was preceded in death by her husbands Robert Woodrow Wilson and Paul Oliver, son Robin Neil Wilson, sisters Miriam Barlow Bailey, Helen Kvenild OíNeil, Lois Jenkins, and parents P.W. and Eva Jenkins. Details for a summertime memorial will be made available at a later date.
Ruth will always be remembered for her spark for life, her humor and wit, and for sharing her magic with all who knew her.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made in Ruthís honor to the Sublette County Library Foundation.