Funeral services for Ruth May Berry, 81, will be 10 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Bridger Methodist Church in Bridger, Montana. Burial will follow in the Bridger Cemetery. Ruth died June 17, 2019, at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia. A memorial in Sheridan, Wyoming is being planned for a later date.
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Ruth May Berry was born Aug. 9, 1937, in Polson, Mont., to Theodore Clifford and Lydia Wilhemina (Claffey) Jones. She grew up in the Flathead Lake and Polson, Montana area. Her family moved to Great Falls and she graduated from Great Falls High School in 1955. As a high school coronet player, her marching band, as the best band in Montana, was selected to perform in New York City and Washington D.C. As a result, she loved John Philip Sousa marches.
After high school, she attended business college in Missouri to obtain an accounting certificate. She worked in Yellowstone Park at Flagg Ranch as a server and short order cook. In the summer of 1958, she met Oral “Shorty” Berry while he was installing the telephone lines for Mountain Bell. They married in Dec. 20, 1958. They moved around the state of Wyoming with his job, until 1968 when they moved to Sheridan. They had four children, Clifford, Cary, Emma and Marie. After Shorty’s death in 1988, she worked for various companies in the retail business. She especially enjoyed her time working for Bino’s Grocery store until it closed in 2010.
She was a role model and a leader for 4-H, 4-H judging, bowling and darts. No matter what her family was interested in, she encouraged them and coached them. She liked helping young people with their interests. She loved to show off her father’s coronet and taught her family to love all kinds of music. She loved to bowl and play darts. She was active in the Blue Sky Saddle Club and won numerous championships for her horsemanship. She was the state saddle club president in 1989. She never let the conventions of the time constrict her. She was the mechanic in the family, having built her own car while in high school. She set the example for what it meant to be a courageous, independent and assertive female. She was constantly fixing broken things. If there was a way to fix it, she would figure it out. She and her brother used a toothbrush handle to fix the gear shift in one of her daughter’s cars.
She and Shorty remodeled their house in Sheridan. He built the fireplace and she built the cabinets and placed the hardwood floors. Anytime there was construction to be done on one of her children’s homes, she became the instant foreman giving “advice and guidance”, which was really her way of giving directions and commands. Nothing was more important to Ruth than family. She was fiercely and courageously protective of her family and friends. She was deeply honored to have six members of her family who are veterans – her husband, her daughter, all of her sons-in-law, and her grandson. She was incredibly proud of her entire family. She was a mother to everyone. She “fostered” her children’s pets when they could not care for them. That generosity of spirit extended to her children’s friends. When some of them had no place to live, she let them stay with her until they were back on the right track. She looked for the best in everyone. She was a lifetime member of Pine Cone Chapter of the Eastern Star.
Survivors include her daughters, Cary Berry-Smith (Paul) of Douglas, Wyoming; Emma Aman (Guy) of Fredericksburg, Virginia; Marie Medina (Ben) of Sheridan, Wyoming; grandsons, Wayne (Michelle) and Kody Aman of Fredericksburg, Virginia, Jason Curtis of Sheridan, Wyoming; Gentry and Clifford Smith of Douglas, Wyoming; great-grandchildren, Wesley and McKynzie Aman of Fredrickburg, Virginia; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents; brother, Theodore W. Jones; sister, Julia Shannon; son, Clifford; grandsons, Austin Dale Smith and Kyle Robert Smith.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Shriners Burns Hospital.
Smith Funeral Chapel in Billings, Montana is in charge of the arrangements.