Baker City, Oregon
Ruth M. Wilson, 93, of Lake Oswego, a former longtime Baker City businesswoman, died May 2, 2003.
Her memorial service was May 17 in the chapel of River View Cemetery at Portland.
Ruth was born on Aug. 8, 1909, at Schofield, Wis. Her mother, Mrs. Durkee, owned a knitting shop in Baker City for many years.
Ruth and her first husband, Bill Stofft, had two children, Paul William and Lois Elaine. In 1935, the Stoffts opened a corner grocery store at Sixth and Broadway streets in Baker City. It was this family owned and operated business that started to define Ruth as a hard and committed worker. Business hours were from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the year. The business offered free delivery in the city limits.
Life was hard, but business was constant. After Bill’s sudden death in 1948, Ruth continued to run the store until 1950 when she closed it and moved to Portland.
Her interest in music got her a job as a salesperson and demonstrators of pianos, organs and sheet music. She also pursued her passion for travel.
She took her first cruise in 1958 from Los Angeles to Hawaii. She then took a solo cruise to Alaska. Her most ambitious cruise was an international adventure from Southern California to Hawaii, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and home again. She often commented that she loved living in Oregon and had seen no place better in her travels.
Always out to improve herself, Ruth took classes in bookkeeping. With her new skills she gained employment at the Portland YMCA, the King Towers and at the Lake Oswego Country Club where she finally retired in 1973.
In 1971, Ruth met Laurence R. Wilson. They were married in the fall of 1972 and enjoyed bridge parties and musical engagements together as well as traveling. Costa Rica, Panama, British Columbia, the East Coast and Palm Springs were a few of the stops on their itinerary.
After Larry died in 1980, Ruth continued with her musical events and parties while keeping up their Lake Oswego home. She continued to travel on a limited basis.
Anyone who knew Ruth, especially in her later years, knew that she had a lifelong fascination with dolls. She loved beautiful objects and collecting dolls in particular gave her great satisfaction. She had hundreds of dolls of all sizes and expressions in her collection when she died.
Ruth was an avid game player. Throughout her life, she was always ready to play — whether it was Scrabble, Yahtzee, pinochle or bridge. And every morning her ritual over a cup of coffee was to work on the daily crossword puzzle.
She loved words and often said that if she were stranded on a desert island, the one book she’d want with her would be the dictionary.
She was always concerned and interested about the lives of her many nieces and nephews. Her engaging conversation and musical contributions will be missed by all who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her son, Paul W. Stofft; and her husband, Laurence Wilson.
Survivors include her daughter, Lois S. Johnsen and her husband, Albert of San Jose, Calif.; a daughter-in-law, Joyce Stofft of Raleigh, N.C.; four granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, National Multiple Sclerosis Society or a charity of one’s choice.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, June 6, 2003
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor