Ruth Edith Whitford Hatzenbeler ~ 100 years, 4 months young.
Ruth was born September 16, 1919 in Ponca, Nebraska to Ray and Alma Whitford and passed away January 14, 2020 in Yakima, Washington surrounded by family.
The fourth of seven children to Ray and Alma, Ruth’s siblings were Dorothy, Lois, Ardis, Donald, Norma, & Robert. They migrated out as a family from their homestead in Nebraska during the Depression to the Pacific Northwest when Ruth was in her late teens. The family picked crops in the Yakima Valley where Ruth discovered she was allergic to the hop fields and found work as a live-in housekeeper in Yakima.
Ruth met Pete Hatzenbeler at a roller skating rink in Yakima and they married at St. Paul Cathedral Church, August 10, 1940. They lived in town as they started their family, welcoming children Bob, Gary, Diana and Janice. They eventually moved out to the country in West Yakima where their home was surrounded by orchards.
Ruth took care of the home and was also one of the first employees of Snokist Cannery in East Yakima working as a Floor Lady supervising workers until her retirement.
She was an avid gardener, with two large gardens on the farm, one in the back with all her berries and grapes, one in the front with her vegetables and flowers all around. Here she taught her grandchildren how fun it is to grow their own food and we all have fond memories of working (playing) in the gardens. Ruth also was a master at canning her bounty, with family always having plenty of homemade jams, pickles, peaches and pears.
In the late 1980s, Pete & Ruth sold the farm and moved into town. Here she continued her love of gardening.
Ruth loved to travel and spending time with family. When her parents and siblings settled in the Gresham/Portland area, she, Pete and the kids would drive down to see them. In later years, Ruth and Pete spent a week each summer on the Oregon Coast, where her children and grandchildren would all gather to celebrate their anniversary.
Ruth was blessed with four children, 12 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. She loved following the activities of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Ruth had a sharp wit, and surprised us quite frequently. On Thanksgiving 2017, with many of her family gathered, we were playing a game of charades, and at 98 years old she acted out hopscotch, shocking us all with her agility.
After Pete passed away in 2004, Ruth lived in their home until 2018, when she suffered a stroke and moved into Highgate Assisted Living, where she lived until her passing.
Ruth is preceded in death by her parents and siblings, her husband Peter, and her son Robert. Ruth is survived by her children Gary & Bev Hatzenbeler, Diana & Rick Anderson, and Janice & Ray Tope. Along with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she has numerous nieces and nephews.
Ruth will always be remembered for her angelic smile and willingness to give of herself and her time to friends & family.
Ruth’s family would like to thank the team at Highgate Assisted Living and Hospice for their loving care.
Mass of Christian Burial will be Sat., March 7, 2020 at 11:00 AM, at St. Paul’s Cathedral Chapel, with a reception following.