Born 10/20/30, died 11/26/17
Attention World: The beloved Queen-of-Homemade-Pickles-CheeseRolls-and-AlmondRoca, Ruth LaNell Hoersch Jones, age 87, passed as quietly as our tiny little 5, 80lb, matriarch lived--like a whisper, her shoulders fluttering like wings ready to fly. It was just past midnight, Sunday, November 26, 2017 in Spokane Valley, Washington at Sullivan Park Care Center when she could simply hang on no longer from the over 5-year-long downward spiral ignited by a catastropic fall on the job working at 81 years of age.
(Forgive family for boasting, but they are SO proud of their mom, grand and great-grands work ethic that--until that life-altering fall in 2012--kept her totally independent and employed by not one but two companies as a bookkeeper, balancing books to the penny, for almost of a century!)
Until that fall, Ruth lived her life like most who grew up in the Depression: Hardworking, frugal, patriotic, family loving and an obsessive cook and gardener. 100% German, she was born in Tangier, Oklahoma on October 20, 1930, the 9th child of first generation immigrant, Rev. John Hoersch and Louise Weber Hoersch. She had ten siblings, a number of whom are still living vibrantly in their old age today despite her being almost the youngest. Because of the economic times and rural poverty in which their father served, the family relied strictly on the benevolence of his congregation(s) for support and it wasnt unusual for him to be paid in tithe with chickens, vegetables or a helping hand around their parish home.
In the winter Ruth carried hot potatoes in her hand-me-down coats trudging through the snow to school. The baked spuds were, first to keep her gloveless hands warm, and second, to provide her something to eat at lunchtime. As a result, food and acts of service became Ruths love languages, so to speak. They would define her throughout the rest of her life.
As her fathers ministerial skills were needed all over rural areas of the Midwest, the family moved oftensome 20 times or more. Those moves probably encouraged the already shy and quiet little redhead girl to become even more so. Nevertheless, she hit her stride by her mid-teens, becoming a cheerleader, going to dances (the first in her family to be allowed to do something so formerly scandalous for a PK), and graduating from Glen Ullen High School in Glen Ullen, North Dakota in 1948.
Following her parents in their move to Quincy, Washington, Ruth would settle in Spokane and work for pediatrician Dr. Robert Heskett. Two years later shed meet and marry handsome Spokane Deputy Sheriff Tom C Jones, May 6th, 1950. Over the ensuing years, they would have four children, Ronna, Tamara (stillborn), Mark and Paula.
It wouldnt be long after their marriage that Tom would be lured away to the Washington State Patrol in Olympia where his movie star looks and engaging personality would win him the assignment to guard, drive and accompany Washington State Governor Arthur Langlie wherever he needed to go. Having tragically lost one baby, Ruth would dutifully and proudly support her husband as the now stay-at-home mom of Ronna and Mark. (Paula, the bonus-blessing-baby would be born a decade later.)
While Ruth was the stereotypical 1950s devoted June Cleaver-ish wife, mother, Girl Scout leader, PTA member and quintessential hostess for her husband, she was eventually called out of her shy-self to campaign door-to-door for her husband as, at the Governors urging, Tom would run for King County Sheriff.
As a relatively young and complete political newcomer running against an incumbent, Ruth husband was defeated. As was the sage Governor in his own bid for reelection. The loss gave Tom pause to consider other options, defaulting back to the business his deceased father had been in: selling life insurance.
Once again those looks and engaging personality plus a knack for sales catapulted Ruths husbandand her own life--into another arena. It wasnt long before he was offered an agency of his own in Spokane. As a result, Ruth was reluctantly forced to leave the home front, join the workforce, put her youngest child, Paula whod been born a few years earlier, in daycare, (all of it almost unheard of for a woman in that era), to become her husbands bookkeeper and receptionist and help her husbands agency grow.
The stress of the changes in the familys lifestyle and financial pressures of running his own business would eventually wear the coupleand their relationship--down. Deeply. They would eventually divorce after twenty years of marriage, a decision that Ruth would regret until the day she died: So much so that one of her final requests was to be buried with Tomsomething we, her familywill be honoring at her burial.
In the unfolding years, Ruth supported her young daughter Paula (Mark and Ronna were grown and gone), managed apartments for Kiemle and Hagood and kept books for companies like Realty Mart, Spokane Catholic Charities, Spokane County Juvenile Court, the Outdoor Sportsman, then Spokane Valley Archery and Wide World of Golf. In later years, she continued working, albeit lesser hours, at the same time as keeping up her own little house, yard and life pretty much as she always had.
The decades moved on, but she stubbornly and independently held onto her German heritage (and love languages) of work and cooking obsessively for her by now huge immediate family. At 80, she could still pull off a cheer in her cheerleading lettermans sweater and slide down the grandkids slide. She still drove her snappy little sportscar across town to her, not one, but two bookkeeping jobs. She reveled in gardening, canning nearly a hundred quarts of pickles a year. She even mowed her own lawn! The perfect recreational day for her was either watching one of her grands play sports or working on an elaborate stitchery product for one of them with a pot of something yummy on the stove and a Seahawks game on the TV. It is said neighbors could hear her screaming for her team from the outside of the house. Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.
An avid cook, shed keep a steady stockpile of food in her freezer for her many grands and their friends who would stop by to, ahem, visit; knowing full-well theyd likely leave with an armload of her coveted frozen weiner-buns, marinated flank steak, stuffed green peppers, or chocolate cherry cake along with a jar of those pickles, probably a bag of cheese rolls and, if they were really-really lucky and it happened to be Christmas time, her almond roca. (See recipe below.)
After the fall at work, July 19th, 2012, where she sustained a life-changing head and hip injury, Ruths entire world crumbled.
She could no longer remember those favorite recipes or how to cook them. She couldnt recall where she lived, how to get there or even how to drive her precious sportscar. She never drove it again. She had to be moved into facility after facility as all her loves, her balance, her strength, most of her memories and even her identity as a productive independent working woman went by the wayside in a tsunami of cognitive and physical decline that would eventually wash her away to the heavens at 12:34am on November 26th.
And so we look back on all of thisthe life of our beloved matriarch, we thank God for the good years we had with her. And we release the lesser stuff of her decline to a God who loved, protected and cared for her--and us--through it all, with all His heart.
Family will do so in a brief graveside service which will be held at:
2pm, December 16th, 2017, Riverside Memorial Cemetery, 508 N. Government Way, Spokane, WA (in the Aster section of the cemetery).
It will be immediately followed by a casual Memory-Sharing time (with samples of Grammas pickles, cheese rolls and almond roca + recipes) served by her kids and grands) just across the driveway from her grave in the warmth of Heritage Funeral Home.
Consider yourself forewarned: While being shy and quiet, Ruth occasionally displayed a mischievous and funny side. Case in point, another final request of hers was to be buried in a pickle jar. Yes, really. We are not kidding. So we will be, gulp, honoring that request as well. (And, hopefully handling it tastefully.no pun intended.)
In lieu of flowers or anything else for Ruth and her family, PLEASE bring your fondest memories of her to the memory service and hopefully be willing to share them aloud with her family? It would mean the world to all of us.
(Yes, we know Ruths passing, quiet as she was, probably didnt need a world announcement. But, as family, she meant the world to us.)
If you cant come to the service, wed love it if youd write down your memories of her so we can read them at the Memory-Sharing and send them to: Ronna Jones Snyder, 23314 S. Weller, Worley, ID 83876. Or e-mail them to email@example.com .
Her fall robbed her of nearly all her memories. This is our way of giving them back to her. And wed love it if youd be part of it. We will make copies of them and tuck them preciously in her grave with her.
Finally, Ruth left this earth as the matriarch of an immediate family of 34; three kids (plus partners), eight grands (plus partners), and fifteen great-grands. They are as follows: Mark and Kathy Jones. Charissa Jones with Madison Moore and Andrew Moore. Caleb Jones and Jonathan Garner. Joshua and Amy Jones, with Taylor and Laina. Paula Jones. Tawney Jones with Landun, Maybee and Exlee. Bill and Ronna Jones Snyder. Justus and Misty Snyder with Briley and Kaley; Will and Libby Snyder Fridinger with Brooklyn and Joslyn. Simeon Snyder and Brook Beeler with Simeon Braxton, Hannah, Emma and Elliot. Shiloh Snyder and Amanda Hanson. She also leaves behind a brother Joel Hoersch and sisters, Esther Whitehead, Arlene Jones and Lois Masterson. Between them and her pre-deceased siblings, she has so many nieces and nephews itd be impossible to list them all but she loved each of them, including those from Toms side of the family too.
Family also wants to thank those who cared so much about our mother during the past six years: Attorney Dennis Beemer, who protected her like his own mom; Counselor Becky Tiller of Tiller Care Strategies who spent hours talking with Mom about her loss and trying to breathe life into her perspectives; Staff at the facilities she stayed at who all tried so hard to help her get some semblance of life backespecially Sullivan Park Care Center who cared for Mom and wept with her in her final two years, then months, weeks, and days: The Mindys, the Mikes and Michaels, Jamie and Jeremy, Joanne, Tiffany, Cheyenne, Danelle, resident-Patty, NP Emily Anderson, Dr. Roberts, PA Charles Houchin, and lastly, the most tender of all, SP nursing director, Leona Plopper. You were our angels in camouflage, figuratively and even sometimes literally. To all of you, and any we have forgotten, we are so indebted.
AND NOW WHAT YOUVE REALLY BEEN READING ALL THE ABOVE HYPERBOLE FOR:
RUTH JONES ALMOND ROCA RECIPE!
(Tip: Use COLD butter right from the refrigerator!)
1 lb cold butter
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 lb raw almonds
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Use a large cast iron skillet (no other kind than cast iron). Put butter in and turn one notch down from high. Melt butter, then add sugar, stirring constantly. (Ruth swore by wooden spoons and only used them wearing numerous ones out over the years.) When butter and sugar comes together as a bubbly consistent mixture, then add almonds. Continue stirring constantly until mixture comes to a caramel color. The oil will separate from the almonds so be sure to keep mixing it back into the mixture before its done (approx. 7 minutes of stirring and folding the oil back in). Pour immediately into a large jelly roll pan and spread out to the edges. (Be careful, this stuff can burn you.) Let cool completely. Wipe grease off the sheet of hardened candy before topping with one half of the melted chocolate chips. (Save the other half for the other side.) Sprinkle with one half of the walnuts chopped while the chocolate is still soft. Let harden. Then flip the tray of roca over (Ruth used a big cutting board to do that on) and repeat on other side. When chocolate and nuts are set on both sides and fully cool, break into pieces. (Ruth used a big knife to do that.)
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