July 20, 1921 ~ February 24, 2015
Ruth Lorraine Olson Aldridge died February 24, 2015 in California of complications from pneumonia. Her funeral will be 12:30 pm March 14, 2015 in Vancouver, Washington at the Evergreen Memorial Chapel, 1101 NE 112th Avenue. Viewing will be the evening of March 13 and prior to the funeral.
Ruth was born July 20, 1921 in Watertown, South Dakota to William and Alice Olson of Florence, South Dakota. She was baptized and confirmed at Goodhue Lutheran Church, founded by her grandparents and others.
She received her teaching certificate from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota and taught in Dupree, SD before WWII.
During WWII, Ruth worked as Rosie the Riveter at an aircraft manufacturing plant in California.
She married Allen J. Aldridge in Pasadena on March 26, 1944. They returned to South Dakota and raised their four children on the Olson farm.
Ruth was an active hobbyist and an accomplished seamstress in addition to working at the Codington County Assessor's office. In 1962, the family moved to Vancouver, Washington to the house Ruth occupied for the rest of her life. She worked as a civil engineering technician at Bonneville Power Administration and practiced her speaking skills at Toastmistress International club. Although in her 50's, Ruth returned to college, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications at Evergreen College in Washington.
After retiring, Ruth and Al traveled around the U.S. in their RV, then chose Desert Hot Springs, California as their winter home. When Al died, Ruth continued to spend winters in California, to pursue her oil painting, and to travel extensively with friends and family. On the cruises she loved, she visited China, the Panama Canal, South America from Chile to Uruguay, the Mediterranean countries from Turkey to Spain; the Baltic Sea countries and Moscow; the St. Lawrence Seaway; and the Mississippi River on the Delta Queen. She took trips to her ancestral home in Norway, Australia, Fiji, England, Paris and Venice. In her last year of life, she still wanted to cruise the Rhone River! Ruth read voraciously, completing 8-10 books per week. She continued to cook large volumes of soup and pot roast until her last illness. She sewed prodigious quantities of lap robes for veterans (over 100 one year), even in 2014 at age 93.
Ruth's family revered her as their heroine. Ruth is survived by four children: Victoria Kingslien, Virginia (and Nick) Moeller, Bill (and Denise) Aldridge, and Betty (and Marty) Schram. Her grandchildren are: Matt Barlow, Nick (and Karinna) Barlow, Shane Williams, and Heidi Williams. Her great-grandchildren are: Noah Barlow, Teo Barlow, Ayden Williams, Lauren Jurschak, and Joseph Jurschak.
Condolences may be sent to Betty Schram, 7209 Kansas Street, Vancouver, WA 98664.
Please sign her guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits