Ruth Hartzell Trout passed away on Thursday, July 7, at Sage Living in Jackson Hole. Her heart stopped while she was sleeping. She was almost 99 years old and had been suffering from dementia for the last three years. There are few events in life as hard as losing a parent.
The brain change allowed her to experience the present with family members and friends from her past. As we sifted through old photos and mementos, we were reminded of the good life she had lived — pictures that showed her loving parents, a happy childhood, fun with friends, and pictures with her husband, daughters and granddaughters. The pictures showed the joy on her face in all of those pictures. That has given us a sense of acceptance and peace knowing that she has experienced much happiness in her long life.
Ruth was born on Oct, 20, 1923, to Charles and Edna McQueen Hartzell. She had deep roots in Evanston as her family arrived in the late 1870s. She lived on the same property where she was raised until her move to Jackson seven years ago.
She graduated from Evanston High School, where she was a cheerleader and involved in many other activities, in 1941. She made friendships during her school years that lasted her entire life. During the war years, she worked at the Union Pacific Railroad shops.
In 1943, she met James Trout at an American Legion dance. When she first laid eyes on him, she said, “I am going to dance with that guy before the evening is over.” And dance she did. She danced with him for the next 74 years before his death in 2017.
During the war years, Ruth had three brothers who served in the Armed Services. Her brother, Glenn, was killed in action in Italy in 1944. Jim, to whom she was engaged, was in the Army Air Corp. He was declared missing in action after his B-17 was shot down over Rumania. As it turned out, he was able to parachute from the plane and was taken as a prisoner of war.
Ruth and Jim were married on Oct. 8, 1944, at her parents’ home in Evanston. Their first home was in Ogden, Utah, as Jim was stationed at Hill Field Air Force Base. Upon his discharge they moved back to Evanston, where they resided together for the next 70 years. They had two daughters: Connie, born in 1945, and Karen in 1950.
Ruth loved Evanston and Wyoming. Her life was dedicated to her family and friends. She will be remembered for her generosity, sense of humor and service to others. Mom never got over the depression, she could stretch a dollar better than anyone I have ever known. She was a stay-at-home mom and very much involved in her children’s life.
Connie and Karen’s childhood house in Evanston was home to the best memories any two kids could possibly have. Ruth taught them how to enjoy life and have fun. Ruth was a 4-H leader, a Grey Lady and served on the Uinta County Fair Board for many years. She has donated many antiques and memorabilia to the Evanston Museum and also the museum at Ft. Bridger.
She served on the board that built the Chinese gazebo and beautiful grounds at Depot Square in Evanston. The Trout yard was impeccable and they earned the Beautification Garden Award more than once. She was noted for her beautiful hollyhocks and the huge willow tree in the back of the family property which was planted by her grandfather.
Ruth loved to play golf and was a club and city champ. She had a hole in one to her credit. Ruth and Jim spent 25 years wintering in St. George, where they played golf, picnicked, hunted rocks, and socialized with their many friends.
As grandchildren and great-grandchildren entered Ruth’s world, it gave a whole new dimension to her life, and she welcomed each one with joy.
Here to honor her memory are her two daughters, Connie Owen and Karen Stewart; and five granddaughters, Traci Owen Hipsher, Jami Owen Jungck, Mackenzie Stewart Jones, Molly Stewart Bell and Katelyn Stewart Armstrong. She also has six great-grandchildren, whom she loved and adored: Christian, Matthew, Audrey, Evan, Genevieve and Hudson. She also had a strong relationship with her two nieces and two nephews.
Our mother’s death is a great loss for our family, but good memories will warm our hearts forever. We will miss her more than we yet know.
Ruth will be laid to rest in Evanston with her husband; parents; and four brothers, Emerson, Charles, Glenn and Gerald Franklin Hartzell.
She has been asking to go back to Evanston for a long time, so Connie and Karen will take her home.
On Aug. 12, at high noon, there will be a graveside service at the Evanston cemetery. All family and friends are invited to lunch at the Fairway Restaurant at the Purple Sage Golf Course following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the nonprofit of your choice. Condolences can be sent to: Connie Owen, Box 83, Jackson, WY 83001 or Karen Stewart, Box 44, Jackson, WY 83001.
“Every exit is an entrance to somewhere even better.” -Tom Stoppard