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Ruth Elaine (Judd) Baer, 95

| May 24, 2022 12:00 AM

April 6, 1927, to May 12, 2022, is just over 95 years; Ruth Elaine (Judd) Baer fully lived every minute of that long life.

Ruth’s family moved frequently. Her father worked border patrol, including undercover work ferreting out bad guys. Ruth had two older sisters, Lois and Florence, who spoiled their baby sister. When Ruth turned 13, her father died of appendicitis.

A few years later her mother remarried. The family traveled to the World War II busy Portland shipyards, where Ruth, now a junior in high school, welded steel onto battleships — until a freak intestinal growth nearly killed her. A world class surgeon operated on her. At one point Ruth was legally dead, but the doctor kept working, refusing to give up on the young teenage girl. Ruth’s mother, Laura (Thornton) (Judd) Salhus said, “Don’t make it so she can’t have children. She would kill herself if she can’t have children.” Ruth’s four children are proof the surgeon heeded her mother’s plea.

Ruth’s senior year, her family moved to Lewiston, Idaho, where Winston K. Baer decided she was “The One.” Four months after high school graduation, they married. Winston promised Ruth an exciting life, and he succeeded. They never stopped dreaming; never stopped learning and never lost faith in each other or God.

Their four children were born in different states. Frances Elaine, 1948, Idaho; Larry Michael, 1951, Washington; Winstenia Kay, 1953, Montana; and Winston Keith the II, 1962, Ohio. They had 15 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren, plus dozens of nieces and nephews.

In 1992, Ruth and Winston retired to Polson. They helped found Polson Community Church. Ruth eagerly volunteered at The Country Store and was active in Kiwanis. Her fellow church members, store workers and “Kiwanians” frequently mention her big smile.

Ruth brought happiness to every place she lived. Few knew her father died so young, her sister Florence died in her early 20s, or that Ruth’s mother died just two years after Florence. Ruth chose faith. Her children and husband gave her purpose. Life itself inspired her great smile.

Ten years and one month after the death of her husband, Ruth joined Winston in life’s final great journey. Her smile is not gone. All who knew her, carry her smile in their hearts.

Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at www.lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com.

Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.

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