Written by Legacy Lodge resident Jeanie Mebane
Who among us was a cheerleader, a good golfer and married the man she loved only eight days after he came back from being a prisoner of war in Romania?
Meet Ruth Hartzell Trout, born in Evanston, WY, in 1923.
Ruth was a self-proclaimed tomboy as a kid. She learned to play baseball and football at an early age, due to the fact that she was raised with three brothers. She was her dad’s favorite. Ruth lovingly recalls her dad’s nickname for her: “Sweet.” Ruth made many friends in her hometown of Evanston. The friends that she made in high school turned out to be lifelong friends. She was a 4-H leader and served on the Uinta County Fair Board.
Meeting the love of her life
Ruth first noticed Jim when she went to a dance with a bunch of girls in Evanston. He was a very good dancer. She knew immediately that she wanted to dance with him. They danced all night and he walked her home. Although his job was elsewhere, Jim came back to Evanston to see Ruth on weekends until he was drafted into the Army Air Corps.
All three of her brothers and her fiancée, Jim, served in World War II at the same time. One of her brothers was killed in action in Italy. He was 19 years old, a loss the family never recovered from. Jim became a turret gunner on a B-17 plane which was shot down over Romania in June, 1944. Jim survived, but was captured. He was a prisoner of war for 88 days until the end of the war.
During the war, like many women of the time, Ruth worked in a Union Pacific Railroad shop, a job usually held by men. She lost her job when the war was over and men were available to return to work.
After their marriage, Ruth and Jim lived in Evanston, where they owned a milk processing dairy. At some point, they sold the dairy and Jim, a hard worker, held other jobs. Their yard in Evanston was impeccable. They won the beautification award several times. Most importantly, they raised two daughters there, Connie and Karen. Ruth made sure that their daughters had a great childhood. She kept them busy with lots of activities. They had weekly Friday night picnics in the summer and went on many camping and boat trips.
Later, when they could retire, they tried trailering for a few years. They went south in the winter and discovered they really liked St. George, Utah. Utah was warmer, they could relax, play golf and skip the cold Wyoming winters. Ruth had a hole in one to her credit. They acquired a place in St. George and wintered there for 25 years.
Four years ago, Ruth and Jim moved to Legacy Lodge to be closer to their girls. Jim died in 2017 after 72 years of marriage. Ruth wants to be close to her daughters and be a part of their lives, but not bother them.
“Hey. I’m the oldest person here, you know,” Ruth says, a fact she will proudly share with a big smile and a chuckle. Ruth has a wonderful philosophy — she loves life, strives to be as active as possible, and will happily tell you she has no idea what it feels like to be old.
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