Ruth Christensen, Born June 19, 1939- Died November 27, 2022, in Hyrum, Utah.
One of the purest souls we've ever known. Ruth embodied a feeling that words can't name. But if we were to try, she was a simple innocence, with a splash of mischievous laughter that allowed joy to erupt all around her. There was a special twinkle in her eye and a smile that lit up a room. Her life was grounded in her home and her routine, her land and flower gardens. Nothing brought her happiness more than sitting on the ground outside on a warm summer day, tending to the beautiful flowers she treated like old friends. Ruth didn’t always worry about weeding her gardens. When asked why she said, “can’t you see the beauty here, and over there, and in between? Weeds don’t take away the beauty of the flowers.” This is precisely how Ruth treated those she loved. She saw past our flaws and pointed out what was beautiful.
When Ruth was 18 years old, she attended BYU. This was quite the adventure for her to move away from her small hometown. Her parents gave her a checking account with enough money for her day-to-day needs. She lived with three roommates, and they struggled to get around town. Ruth took charge and spent all of her money on a car. We imagine that the adventures that unfolded with this kind of freedom made up for the trouble she was in when her parents found out how she spent her money. Ruth loved learning and reading and had a special love for cookbooks. She later continued her education at Utah State University.
When Ruth was 27, she served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Seattle Tri-State area. Later in her life, she traveled back to her mission area and shared her memories with family members, reminiscing her time in service. Ruth may have appeared shy, but she had tremendous courage to step out into the world and share her faith and strong beliefs about her religion. We really admire Ruth for her ability to do this rewarding work. I don't think we fully comprehend the lives she has touched along the way.
One of our favorite memories of Ruth was in her late 40s. She packed up her life, collected maps across the US, and drove to Rochester, New York, all on her own. This journey took her over a week. She confessed that she loved to stop along the way to take in the sights and discover each state's hidden gems. She also made time on a Sunday to find a church to attend and worship. She met a family who offered her dinner and sent her on her way, supported and loved. Her two years in New York were her most adventurous years. She traveled to various events making her way to Canada more than once to attend the temple. She lived in a lovely studio apartment and invited her cousins over on Sundays for dinner. She loved to entertain and stay connected to her loved ones. Ruth's time in New York was the prime of her life. It was a grand adventure. She was free and on her own, living with curiosity and joy each day. She gained a sense of independence and confidence from this journey. After two years, she returned to Hyrum to care for her aging mother. Ruth took great care of her in her last days, and we have always admired her commitment and loyalty.
For years Ruth was a door greeter and security watcher at Walmart. She told a couple of stories about when she had to chase down thieves in the parking lot. Ruth was a sweetheart, but you wouldn't want to be caught up in the crosshairs if you were trying to steal anything. She took her security job very seriously. But it was her perfectly placed smile when you walked through the doors of Walmart that was the real magic of Ruth. Whenever she said "hello or welcome," she was creating a connection. She would come home from work and share details about those who greeted her in return and the exchanges that meant something to her. Those moments gave her joy and a sense of belonging. She remained a committed employee until it was time to retire and enter a season of rest.
Her home was her sanctuary, surrounded by talismans of comfort that kept her connected to her family. Her home is reminiscent of the things she loved and the hopes she held onto. She has preserved the distant memories of her grandparents, who emigrated from Denmark and were among the original settlers of Hyrum. There is so much pride in the log cabin that resides in the Hyrum town square. The first home her grandparents lived in when they arrived. It is a time travel machine that takes us back to where our lives started in America. Ruth took on the role of mothering her nieces and nephews when their mother died unexpectedly. She nurtured five small children and continued to make her home a place of refuge throughout her life. There were many times that Ruth's home was the soft place to land. She provided an environment free of judgment and took us in as we were. Her life was so modest and straightforward. She repurposed anything that had a second life left in it. Her footprint was small and humble yet so powerful and content.
She was the record keeper and storyteller, ensuring we knew where we came from. Denmark and Sweden, we were pioneer stock with strong survival instincts. This town of Hyrum and the people who weave it together are like a warm blanket when someone falls on hard times. This hometown is an artifact in its own right. The people who have lived here since their ancestors settled this land have been a considerable force of support. To those who took the time to visit Ruth and allowed her to feel special and cared for, brought strawberry shakes and warm greetings. Know that your efforts don't go unnoticed. You provided a connection that Ruth craved and would always share with her family.
Ruth's religion and roots tethered her to her purpose, to be faithful, accepted, and loved. If the afterlife is made up of tiers, there is one higher than all of the others. It's a golden ticket realm reserved for the Lord's finest. I know that the red carpet was rolled out for aunt Ruth as she transitioned to her place of rest and ultimate honor. She was greeted by those who came before her with the same smile and energy she gave freely when she welcomed the shoppers at Walmart. They must have been singing hallelujah for her courage to live a challenging but beautiful life. Ruth has returned to Ethel and Hyrum Christensen, her parents. She is survived by her brother Calvin Christensen, who cared for her in the most beautiful ways throughout her life. His commitment to her will be one of his most important acts of service imprinted in our hearts. Curtis, her nephew, helped guide her into heaven in the most breathtaking way. He helped make her process holy, sacred, gentle, and full of love.
She is survived by her brother Calvin Christensen and her nieces and nephews, Tresa Martindale, Mikel Christensen, Curtis Christensen, Lane Christensen, and Tami Hull.
We are blessed to count Ruth amongst our ancestors now. An angel to look after us. A woman of courage, faith, and perseverance. The last matriarch who passes her torch for us to bear. We have big shoes to fill and will never forget her as we rise up. She was a rare beauty, a tremendous blessing, and a beloved family member. Ruth, you are so loved!
These are a few of her favorite things we found handwritten by Ruth. She didn’t seek for worldly things but rather the beauty in the natural world. The simple treasures all around her.
Bach played on a harp cord.
The smell of oil paints.
The sun through the apple and plum tree.
The full moon.
The smell of the earth after rain on a mid summers day.
The sound of water over rocks.
The smell of the sea.
Apricots cooking in a pan.
Bottles of fruits and vegetables put up for winter.
Lilacs, Posies, gardenias.
Fire in a fireplace.
A graveside funeral will take place on Saturday, December 10, 2022 at 2:00 PM at Hyrum Cemetery. A viewing will be held the night before, Friday, December 9 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at White Pine Funeral Services, 753 S 100 E Logan.
We will have an open mic remembrance of Ruth and a luncheon following the burial services at the Hyrum Ward. All are welcome to attend. Those who would like to attend virtually may use the following link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89696468382