Ruth Ann Dolan was born November 17, 1915 in Duluth, Minn., the third child of Alice Matilda Hawksworth and Alfred Leo Dolan. Ruth’s youth was spent in Superior, Wis. and Ely, Minn.. Ruth’s mother was very talented, and introduced her children to the culture of symphonies, operas, plays, and literature at a young age.
Ruth was a teenager during the depression. Her father, a plumber, lost his business and eventually the family home. The family had a hard time, often going without food. When she was 18, her mother died suddenly, and without her mother’s stability, the family struggled. Ruth’s older siblings left home and she undertook the responsibility of raising the three younger children. Ruth worked nights at a fountain shop, attending college during the day. In the evening she cooked dinner and slept and did homework whenever she had a chance. She finished her teaching degree in five years, and taught one year in a one-room school house.
In 1941 the war hit. Her two younger brothers enlisted in the Navy, her younger sister was married and Ruth joined her older sister in Salt Lake City. Ruth was employed as a quality-control supervisor at the Remington Ammunition Factory. She didn’t want to be a supervisor. She enjoyed the association with her co-workers and the camaraderie and felt that would be lost if she became their supervisor. But she accepted the position and the 2-cent per hour raise. Ruth met Lee Afton Hyde through a blind date arranged by a co-worker from Monticello.
For Thanksgiving 1942, Afton took Ruth to meet his family in Monticello, where the electricity was turned off at 6 p.m., they used outhouses, and everyone was Mormon. That was enough for her. She returned to Salt Lake City, and Afton went to Portland to weld Liberty Ships. They corresponded until they were married in Monticello on June 23, 1943. Ruth’s first home was a tent at a uranium mine in San Juan County.
They had four children, Bill, Bonnie, Gerald and Betty Jo. When Betty Jo was in first grade, Ruth responded to the repeated offers from the San Juan School District, and returned to teaching. Having attended Catholic schools herself, she was a strict teacher, feeling strongly the responsibility of giving children a good start in reading and math. For 21 years she taught half of the kids in Monticello.
Ruth was a great supporter of community concerts, school plays and local activities trying to instill a desire and appreciation in her children and her students of the finer things of life.
Ruth served on the Monticello City Zoning Committee for years, helping to establish zoning rules and regulations as Monticello grew from the small town she first came to, through the bust of the uranium boom. She actively followed politics and legislation, attending lobby sessions on senior petitions, county commission meetings and supported local programs. She was a regular for senior lunches, trips and activities.
Ruth was a religious person, gaining comfort from religion at the death of her mother. She was adamant that children should have a religious upbringing. She felt that parents should take, not send, children to church, so she took her children to church weekly with their Grandma Hyde. Even before she became a member Ruth served as the LDS Stake Young Women’s Secretary, magazine representative, name extractor, and visiting teacher.
She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1968.
Ruth loved to travel. Each year she would plan trips to visit family in Minnesota or California, with detours to national and state parks, points of interest or historical sites, teaching the children as they traveled. After retiring she and Afton traveled spending summers in Monticello, spring and fall in Arizona and winters in Mexico.
After Afton passed away, Ruth continued to travel with her girls. Betty Jo traveled frequently with her work and Ruth and Bonnie would often accompany her. They would turn business trips to Reno, Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Lake Havasu into ‘”girls’” nights out. Of course there were also the necessary trips to Wal-Mart in Cortez. In 1997, the girls went on a trip to Hawaii that would not have been complete without Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base, Diamond Head, the Military cemetery, Hawaiian Temple and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
In 2004, she went to live with Bonnie and her husband Kenny in Moab. Ruth took great pleasure beating Bonnie and Kenny at Rummy Cube, and enjoyed teasing Kenny. Bonnie lovingly cared for her, taking her to the beauty shop each week, and for a ride and a Pepsi each day, and for enchiladas on Wednesdays. Her 90th birthday party, when so many drove from Monticello to celebrate with her, was a cherished memory. She was active and alert, enjoying visits and retaining her wit and memory to the end. She had glitches, but, as she liked to say, “I am, after all, 92.”
She was taken swiftly, being hit with a severe stroke after returning home from the beauty shop on Thursday, June 5, and dying late afternoon, Saturday, June 7.
Her family and friends will miss her, but are happy that she is traveling again with Afton.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Lee Afton Hyde, and her five siblings. She left behind four children, William Lee Hyde (Connie), Gerald Edward Hyde (Ginger), Bonnie Jean Hyde Black Hawks (Kenny), and Betty Jo Hyde Mortensen Bowler (David), 22 grandchildren, and more than 70 great-grandchildren.