Ruth Cole (RC) Bair
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It was a cold morning on Nov. 15, 1950 when Nola Cole, who was eight and a half months along, slipped and fell on a patch of ice near her front door and fell to the ground. The jolt put her into labor and a few hours later, Ruth Cole was born in Preston, ID. A sensitive spirit was introduced into this insensitive world. Ruth was the first of what would become six children born in the family of Calvin Christian Cole and Nola Rogers Cole. Her siblings that came later were Roger, Gordon, Beverlee, Sheryl, and Earl.
The family moved from Preston to Rexburg and then to Lava Hot Springs where most of her childhood memories took place. When she was three and in Rexburg, she fell into a deep hole near their house and couldn’t get out. Her mother couldn’t find her, but the family dog, Snooky, stood by the hole and barked and refused to stop until Ruth was found. When she was in second grade she and Roger fell off of a horse, old Queen, and Ruth broke her arm. Before the arm healed, a tick got in under the cast and drove her nuts for quite a while. It was as big as her dad’s thumb before the cast came off. She loved her family and was very loyal to her brothers and sister. She learned responsibility at a young age and worked hard all her life.
Ruth enjoyed being outside and during her high school years, after the family had moved to Roy, UT, she returned to Lava to help on the Andrus farm. She treasured her memories of working with her dear friend, Linda Andrus, and the rest of the family. She especially enjoyed watching the sheep up the canyons of the surrounding mountains.
While in Roy, Ruth rode in junior posse and participated in 4-H. Once she was to show a colt named Sprite at the fair and they didn’t have a truck or trailer to haul the colt in. Her dad had the bright idea to put the colt in the back seat of the car with Ruth and Beverlee. They were crossing a railroad track and the bumps startled Sprite and he stomped on Beverlee’s foot. Beverlee started screaming and things went downhill from there. In the ruckus that followed, Ruth got a great black eye and some good bruises. They made it to the show and after she showed the colt, she had to ask if anyone had any questions. Of course somebody asked if the colt had given her the black eye. She had to tell the story then and got quite a few laughs.
After high school, Ruth attended Ricks College in Rexburg, ID. On Halloween that fall of 1969, she was in the snack bar and some boys were kind of bothering her. She was wearing a baby blue ski parka and with her beautiful honey blonde hair, she was a girl the boys would notice. Then another boy came over and kind of told the group that was bothering her to leave her alone. That was the end of it and the rescuer, who she wouldn’t really meet until January, was Glen Bair who she would marry the next August. After that first short encounter, the two started noticing each other all around campus and there was quite an attraction going on.
In January of 1970, both Ruth and Glen Bair happened to take the same psychology class and that is where they met. When Glen asked her name she said RC and that is what he has always called her. She got the nickname because of her initials and because of the old Royal Crown cola ads. “RC, the one with the mad, mad taste.” At first, she didn’t like it, but it stuck and she got used to it. For the rest of her life she went by either RC or Ruth. RC and Glen quickly became an “item” and as they say, one thing led to another and they were married August 25, 1970 in the Idaho Falls Temple.
The couple has lived in Ephrata, WA since that time and Glen farmed and RC became a homemaker. The first of their children, Linda, was born in June of 1971 and it seemed that the next twenty years RC was literally barefoot and pregnant. Before it was over Linda was followed by Kurt, Rick, Lisa, Doug, Denise, Dan, Jake, and Shauna. That’s right, nine of them. Sheesh!
To give you a hint of how busy life was, consider this: she made a lot of the clothes for the kids when they were little, the first seven kids had cloth diapers, she gave all of the haircuts, the kids thought they were being punished if they had to eat bread from the store, she was at almost every game, recital, dance performance, orthodontist appointment, church activity, and many other tasks that a household demands.
Once the phone rang and it was some kind of survey asking people their profession and how long they had been involved in what they did. When she told them she was a homemaker, they said, “Oh, you don’t work?” To say they got an earful would be an understatement. This pace was consistent for many years. RC drove an estimated 810,000 miles in the 27 years she had teenagers. That is to the moon and back twice for you travelers. And she did it with only one ticket and not even one fender bender. She drove those suburbans with an average of three or four kids on board before there were video games and TV sets to keep the peace. It’s a wonder she could still hear after all of that.
RC loved her babies. Her babies were always clean and well cared for. Glen didn’t think she was ever going to quit wanting another one.
In addition to those activities mentioned before, RC canned all kinds of fruit, jams, jellies, juice and applesauce. Her pies and bread and cinnamon rolls were famous. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, she would make as many as thirteen or fourteen pies for the big Bair parties.
RC had long beautiful hair. She usually had it braided and sometimes she had problems because of it. One rainy day, she got to town and realized that about a foot and a half of her hair was hanging out of the car door. By the time she got to town, that hair that was outside was a bunch of mud balls. At a restaurant she had a waitress step on her hair more than once. She always had to be careful to keep it out of the toilet. The worst one was when she had it down one day to dry and while mowing the lawn, it got sucked into the top of the lawnmower. It jerked a bunch of it out and broke off a lot more. She was scared to death, but got the mower shut off before it ruined it all. She had to cut it off just below her pockets to even it out.
RC was always giving and generous. One story that shows this was when she was in Manti, UT visiting her friend Colleen Hess. They went to visit a friend of Colleen’s who had broken his leg and couldn’t work for quite a while. He was having a hard time making ends meet and things were tough. He made saddles in addition to his regular job and there were some there that day. Well, when they left his place, RC had a $1600 saddle in the car that Glen said they didn’t need any more than a pig needs Sunday. She was always willing to serve others and it was hard for her to have to accept the help of others when she became disabled for the last several years of her life.
RC has always loved family history and knew more about her ancestors than you could believe. She wanted to go to Europe to find out more about her roots for years before she got that opportunity. Glen is “travel challenged”, but after hearing for years about her desire to go he told her to pick a friend who would go with her and he would pay for both of them to go. He said, “I’m just glad my ancestors had the good sense to get out of Europe. Why would I want to go there?” So RC and Colleen Hess went for a whole month while Glen stayed home with the kids. Years later, RC got to go again with her friend Janis Peters and their sons, Jake and Wes. RC had a wall hanging that read, “I’d like to live in the fast lane, but I’m married to a speed bump.”
If asked about fun memories with Glen, a few would stand out. Trips to Glacier Park, Nauvoo, and the Grand Canyon with Jon and Colleen Hess would be one. Another would be going to Canada with Mel and Dorle Smith and baby Jake. Then there was a beautiful ride on the horses to Spider Meadows with Rick Booth. And one more would be the 40th anniversary cruise to Alaska with the Smiths, Booths and Whites.
RC loved to read. She read a lot and taught her children to love reading. She has always blamed Glen for the smart kids they raised, but she remembered everything. They got a lot from her gene-pool too.
Glen always thought RC was the prettiest girl in the room. He told all of his daughters they were pretty but that none of them were any prettier than their mom.
Later in life, RC, who would had made a few quilts before, had more time with the kids grown and she made many beautiful quilts. She made a number of quilts for veterans and quite a few of them shed tears of appreciation for the hours she spent and the thoughts behind those hours.
She was very artistic. She often times would just draw what she called scribble pictures. It might be on a piece of scratch paper or even a napkin. More than once, while Glen performed poetry and music at some banquet, she would finish a mountain scene with an Indian camp or a lighthouse on a rocky shore. Sometimes people would see what she had drawn on the paper table clothes and ask if they could cut it out and take it home. She always laughed and gave them the pictures. Glen’s favorite was a picture of a little girl with a baby goat. Just a few months ago when RC was feeling helpless and useless, Glen had copies made for all of their family and a few people who had helped her during her decline. The gift she gave and the way they accepted it made her feel like she had contributed to their happiness.
In 1995, RC had a bad accident with a pony cart that Glen believes started her health difficulties. She had a broken pelvis, a concussion, her bicep was torn and some vertebrae were damaged. Shortly after that she began to have pain in her left foot and it slowly worsened until they started seeking help for it in 2009. She survived a bout with breast cancer in 2011 and by 2014 symptoms of Parkinson’s, probably brought on by the concussion, began to show up. She lost the use of her left hand in 2002 because of a botched surgery and with the Parkinson’s problems and the neuropathy in her foot, she was tortured with pain and slowly became a prisoner inside her own body for the last two years of her life.
About three years ago, she wrote the following to her kids:
“First off, if you are reading this I have died. All I have done for years is survive day to day. Be happy for me that the fight is over.
I love you all more than I have words to say. You are all so smart and talented and kind. I am so proud of the good men and women you have grown to be.”
Through all of her trials, her faith in God has not waivered. In Daniel chapter 3 verses 16-18, Shadrach Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchadnezzar that their God could save them from the fiery furnace, but that even if He did not save them, they would not serve the king’s false gods. RC always had a strong faith and though she wondered why her lot in life was hard, she kept that faith even through her own fiery furnace.
The following are words taken from RC’s journal:
“I do have a testimony that God lives and loves us all, that Christ gave His life for us all and that the gospel was restored through Joseph Smith. It is my sincere desire that all of my family will gain strong testimonies and reap the blessings that are to be had because of it. Yes, at times life is hard, but God can help us through.”
Looking back through the years, it seems like Glen was still trying to rescue the cute girl in the snack bar but never could quite get it done. Now she is with someone who can rescue us all.
Death is almost always sad and oftentimes it is downright tragic. But thanks to Jesus Christ, we can look forward to a better life than we can imagine when we pass through that portal. RC was able to experience the miracle of death on July 30, 2019 with her husband of nearly 49 years by her side. Her headstone will include the inscription “Ah-h-h peace at last, in the loving, accepting, healing arms of Jesus.” We are thankful for the good woman she was and the life she lived.
Ruth is survived by her husband of forty-nine years, Glen Bair, their nine children: Linda Sanderson and husband Allen of Paul, ID, Kurt Bair and wife Jami of Louisville, KY, Rick Bair and wife Erika of Maple Valley, WA, Lisa Sheehy and husband Todd of Rogers, MN, Doug Bair and wife Lindsey of Borger, TX, Denise Stephens and husband Josh of Clinton, UT, Dan Bair and wife Tessa of Borger, TX, Jake Bair and wife Rachel of Pasco, WA, and Shauna Webb and husband Tyler of Nampa, ID and 27 grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by one grandson.
A celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, August 17, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1301 E. Division Ave., Ephrata, WA 98823.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign their online guestbook at www.scharbachs.com.
Scharbach's Columbia Funeral Chapel, Quincy, is assisting the family with arrangements.