Beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Ruth MacDonald, 94, passed from the earthly world into God’s hands on Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022.
Ruth was born the third daughter of four to Andrew “Drew” Jackson Ball and Oma (Counts) Ball on July 22, 1927. Born in the family’s cabin home on Mill Creek, she grew up with a close relationship to nature, its beauty and might. Ruth attended the one room schoolhouse on Upper Mill Creek grades one through eight. Ruth and her sisters did in fact walk a mile to school and a mile home through all types of weather, good and bad. Ruth loved her teacher and her neighbors that lived up Mill Creek and remained lifelong friends.
The family then moved to Jardine where her father worked for the mine and Forest Service. Ruth attended Gardiner High School for three years where she lettered in girls’ basketball. Ruth worked summers at the Old Faithful Hamilton Store in Yellowstone Park. She was proud to say that she worked for Mr. C. Hamilton himself, and after paying room and board, was able to buy clothes she liked and jewelry from the Hamilton Store. Ruth then attended Park High School in Livingston for three years and graduated in 1945.
Ruth went to work for Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph in Livingston as a switchboard operator, connecting calls with wires and plugs directly communicating with the caller saying “operator” or “number please” - a phone call to Paradise Valley was long distance! Ruth worked for Mountain Bell for 26 years ending her career at the level of office manager. It was in the early days of her working as an operator that she took her lunch break a short distance away at Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream and Candy Store. That was the day in January she met Alfred “Al” D. MacDonald and they shared a booth and a coke. Al invited Ruth to his parents’ house so he could play her a tune on the piano. They stopped at the Song Shop Music Store on the way, and he bought the sheet music for “Let it Snow”. He played it for her over and over again and this is how their life together began.
Al and Ruth were married one sunny day May 28, 1946, at the First Baptist Church Parsonage by a Navy Chaplain filling in during the war years officiating. Al and Ruth went dancing their wedding night at the Melody Supper Club and continued their honeymoon spending a few nights in Yellowstone Park. Sixty-five years later when a nurse asked Al where he found such a sweet wife, without hesitation he replied, “Wilcoxson’s Candy Store!” Al and Ruth were blessed with two daughters Sally Ann and Vickie Lee. The family enjoyed camping with cousins and friends, swimming and picnicking at Chico (when you put your silver coin in the stylus to enter the pool), ice skating on the lagoon, and holidays and get togethers that always included Al playing piano or accordion.
Ruth was a wonderful cook and prepared meals and treats for all that gathered and were welcomed into her home. Bread making and baking pies and cakes was a love Ruth shared with her family and friends. Later she shared her baking secrets with each of her granddaughters that now carry on the beauty of proofing and kneading dough formed into rolls or loaves and baked to perfection. Ruth was a gifted seamstress, sewing everything from Barbie clothes to prom dresses and even costumes for the Firehouse Five’s stage production of The Sound of Music. Ruth had a natural gift for poetry and wrote beautiful poems on topics including her joy of baking bread, gardening, the birth of the first great-grandson, to the loss of her beloved husband, Al. Her words of life, love and death are insights to the depth of love she shared with her family and the environment. The flower garden was Ruth’s sanctuary. Ruth loved planting beautiful flowers placed among collected rocks and brickwork that Al arranged for her. Ruth loved chatting with folks that passed by her house admiring her flowers about the beautiful day. Ruth looked forward to the Park County Fair every year, reading the fair book front to back and circling the department and class in which she would enter her baking and cut flowers. Ruth was always proud of her blue ribbons and especially the fluffy purple that she regarded as the ultimate reward for her love of the garden.
Ruth was an Eastern Star for 26 years, volunteering for years at the Park County Blood Draw, Easter Seal fundraiser and worked as an election Judge for many years. Ruth was a member of the Park County Pioneer Society. Ruth will truly miss the Park County Pioneer Banquet in May with the gathering of old friends, sharing a meal, music, hugs and memories so dear to her. This year, the Pioneers will place a rose in the vase remembering her and the other Pioneer souls that have passed. Ruth volunteered for the Livingston Shrine Clowns and events of the Livingston Masonic Lodge #32 A.F & A.M., giving many fun and challenging hours in the Shriners Clown Wagon and tent at the 4th of July rodeo, selling elephant ears (huge fry dough with butter, sugar, and cinnamon) and corn for the benefit of the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Spokane Washington. Ruth is a life member of Livingston Elks Lodge #246 from Al’s life membership where he moved through the chairs to Exalted Ruler and served as organist for many more years.
Ruth lived a huge, beautiful life and loved her children, granddaughters and great-grandsons with all her heart. Ruth is survived by daughters, Sally MacDonald, of Portland, ME, and Vickie Roseberry, of Thermopolis, WY; granddaughters, Kimberly MacDonald (Steve Gerlach), Kristin MacDonald (Chris Lambert) and Allison Lee Wrye; great-grandsons, Owen Alfred Douglas and Neil Thomas Douglas; and numerous nieces and nephews. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, Alfred D. MacDonald; parents, Andrew and Oma Ball; sisters, Irene Gaibert, Ruby Collins and Pauline Pollock; and a great-grandson, Rylee James Douglas.
Services are pending at this time and will be announced.
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