Ruth Irvine: 1917-2016 |

Ruth Irvine: 1917-2016

Ruth Irvine


Ruth Irvine died Friday, May 20, at the Platte County Legacy Home in Wheatland.

Ruth was born Monday, Dec. 24, 1917 in Wheatland, Wyoming the daughter of James Eli and Clara Elizabeth (Grant) Chase.

Throughout her youth, Ruth worked with her parents on the ranch northwest of Chugwater. When she was about four years old, Ruth’s folks moved to North Reshaw Creek, (spelling later changed to Richeau) on her mother’s Desert Claim. She remembered seeing the house, barn and garage cut in sections, laid flat on wagons to transport, and then pieced back together upon arrival at the new place.

As a young girl, Ruth’s first tasks were wrangling the milk cow at night and horses in the morning.

During the summer, she ran the dump rake and drove the stacker team on the old overshot stacker. Buck, Rowdy, and Chipmunk were here favorite horses in her youth, and she rode one of them to check cattle every week.

As a child, Ruth, her folks and her aunt and uncle took a big trip to Scobey, Montana, to see her sister Marie Dickinson’s home and new baby boy. They circled around through eastern North Dakota and South Dakota and down to Iowa where they went to a live music show that they had always enjoyed hearing on the radio. The roads for much of the trip were just muddy trails.

Ruth’s Uncle Art Chase taught her to chord on the organ, to accompany his fiddle music. She then took about 50 piano lessons from her Aunt May Grant, and also played by ear much of the time. She enjoyed a good tune and entertained herself and others playing the piano at home, at local dances and Slater Sunday School most of her adult life. While she loved playing, she’d “rather have been dancing,” and did that many times, too.

At a neighborhood dance, she met James E. Irvine from Slate Creek. Jim and Ruth were married July 9, 1941, and left that very day for California where Jim had a job building Army barracks. Ruth missed ranch life and her family and by Thanksgiving, the couple was back in Wyoming where they remained.

The young couple moved several times in the early years. While they were on the Guthrie place on the Sybille, Glen Alan was born. Eventually they purchased and settled on a ranch just north of Ruth’s home place. Daughter Sharon Carol soon arrived, and joined in the ranch work.

Jim and Ruth added to the place over the years, operating a successful ranch all of their lives. Glen joined the enterprise, and after his passing, his sons Duncan and Jason stepped in, and eventually took the reins.

Ruth was a hardworking ranch woman through and through. She would rather be riding or helping work cattle than in the house. Many times she said that she didn’t like to cook, but that if she was going to do it, she might as well do it well. She was known throughout the community for her delicious meals and potluck dishes.

Until the last few years, Ruth kept accurate records on the ranch cows, meticulously noting data for each cow, the calf’s weaning weight, and other details. She also kept the ranch’s financial books in good order.

Animals were special to Ruth and besides her horses, she loved her cats and dogs and took special care of them. She also had a green thumb and was known for her beautiful houseplants and outdoor flowers.

Ruth carried on her mother’s tradition of creating scrapbooks. She saved clippings including regional and family history, cartoons and other interesting tidbits, making 16 scrapbooks over the years. She also made a picture book from magazine and catalog clippings for each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Ruth enjoyed family history and made a point of keeping in touch with a number of relatives from across the country. She remembered her childhood in great detail and enjoyed sharing those stories with family and friends.

Slater Sunday School and Slater Women’s Club were important to Ruth and it was rare for her to miss either. She served as club treasurer for 32 years and was recently recognized for her dedication.

The Laramie Peak Cattlewomen honored Ruth as Ranch Woman of the Year in 1981 and as Pioneer Ranch Woman of the year in 1998.

Ruth is survived by her daughter, Sharon (Lester) Longwood, of Lemmon, South Dakota; daughter-in-law, Mary Irvine, of Wheatland; grandchildren, Duncan (Brady) Irvine, Jason Irvine, Amanda (Neal) Sorenson, Laura (Jared) Lahr, Carrie (Jeremy) Stadheim, and Erin (Luke) Stadheim; and great grandchildren, Curran and Logen Irvine, Shaya and Chase Irvine, Cole and Chance Sorenson, James and Ella Lahr, Pitch, Kyan, Kinley, Stone, Rainn, and Steele Stadheim, and Cora and Liza Stadheim.

Ruth was preceded in death by her father, James, on May 8, 1966; mother, Clara, on March 6, 1961; her husband, James E., on October 27, 2014; son, Glen A. Irvine, on July 30, 1994; and sister, Marie Dickinson.

A memorial to the Slater Women’s Club in care of Nancy Collins, 330 Slater Road, Wheatland, Wyoming 82201 or the Platte County Legacy Home, 100 19th Street, Wheatland, Wyoming 82201 would be appreciated by the family.

The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland is in charge of the arrangements.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Funeral services for Ruth Margaret Irvine, 98, were Tuesday, May 24, at the First Christian Church in Wheatland, Wyoming with Pastors David Dick and Delbert Dick of American Missionary Fellowship officiating. Interment was in the Wheatland Cemetery.

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