Finally escaping the ravages of her long battle with dementia, Ruth Bird peacefully slipped from the darkness, her daughter beside her, bidding her Godspeed. She left on March 10, 2016.
Ruth was born on Sept. 1, 1928, to Donald and Alice Durham in Hartville, Wyo. She was born the second of six children and spent her early years moving often as her father followed work. Her early life was difficult, but she loved the closeness she shared with her extended family. Leaving home at 16 to make her way in the world, she went to beauty school in Casper, Wyo., then moved to Greybull, Wyo., where she worked as a beautician and waited tables in the local diner. While there, she met and married Harry Bird, with whom she shared 62 years of marriage.
Ruth was a homemaker and a mother to her three children for many years as the family traveled, following Harry’s work. She provided for her family though her sewing, gardening and baking skills. She became known for her large gardens, selling the surplus to neighbors, and apple pies, which were often requested by friends and expected by family.
The family permanently settled in Nampa, Idaho, and, after the eldest son Larry had joined the Air Force and the younger children, Cyndi and Steve, were in junior high, Ruth worked to receive her GED. Afterwards, in three years, she was awarded a degree in elementary education from Boise Junior College, graduating top of the Dean’s List. Ruth spent 13 years teaching and encouraging fifth graders, thoroughly enjoying her years as an educator, and then she and Harry retired and traveled to each of the 50 states before becoming snowbirds and finally moving to New Mexico.
Ruth was always willing to stay at the bedside of friends and family as they recovered from surgeries, illnesses, and as they faced their last hours of life. She was loved by all, an incredibly generous woman who loved her family deeply, and her Lord, Jesus Christ. Their last years were spent in Billings to be near the help of family.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Harry; three brothers; a sister; and her daughter-in-law, Jan.
She is survived by her son, Larry (Carla) Bird of Hillsboro, Ore.; her daughter, Cyndi (Jeff) Trapp of Billings; her son, Steve (Barb) Bird of Upland; nine grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. She is also survived by her sister, Dorothy Sandaker.
A special thank you to the many loving caregivers at Highgate Senior Living who have cared for Mom these many years, and Rocky Mountain Hospice, who has aided in her final year.
Preparations are in the care of Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary. The family will greet friends for visitation 5-8pm Thursday and services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 18, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave.