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Obituary: Ruth Hansen Hale

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Ruth Hansen Hale


1915 ~ 2008

Ruth Hansen Hale, beloved mother, grandmother, wife, sister, and friend, departed this life to join her sweetheart Girard on Friday, April 25th, 2008.Ruth was the 11th of 13 children, born to Joseph Franklin and Lana Geska Nelson Hansen on August 22, 1915 in Brigham City, Utah. Precocious and charming from an early age, Ruth dazzled family, friends, and neighbors with her poetry and songs. She gave dramatic readings in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City when she was four years old, and continued her career in radio and theater throughout her youth. She recorded radio advertisements broadcast throughout the United States in her teenage years and appeared in live broadcast performances in KSL Hall and the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Ruth studied with Maude May Babcock in the theater department at the University of Utah, and was featured in many of the University's theater productions. She was elected to Theta Alpha Phi, a National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity, as a freshman. She also worked as a buyer and merchandising director at ZCMI to support herself in her studies. Ruth's dramatic career continued after her marriage until she lost her hearing at age 35.

A life-long friend of the artist Florence Ware, Ruth sat for many portraits with the artist, and was a model for many of the female figures Ware painted in the murals flanking the stage at Kingsbury Hall.

Ruth and Girard met as teens in Salt Lake City and courted for nine years before marrying on November 15, 1940 in the Salt Lake Temple. Their love for each other was the hallmark of their lives. Together they raised four children, Mary Elizabeth, Kathleen, Edward, and Michael Hale. Ruth was an extraordinary mother, showering her children with love and teaching them important lessons that guided them into successful adulthood. Very active in her community and her church, she served as President of the Utah State Dental Auxiliary for several years, and was a board member of the Utah Council of Women and the Women's State Legislative Council of Utah. Ruth also served in the youth organization of the LDS Church, directing many plays, road shows, and telling stories to countless Primary Children.

To her grandchildren, Ruth was "Mammy," a loving, devoted, and dazzling grandmother. Using her dramatic talents to entertain them, Mammy would become an English countess, a cockney flower girl, a French governess, or a Danish maid. She told elaborate stories, sang songs, played the piano, and danced her beloved "two-step" to quiet fussy babies. Mammy made delicious pancakes and was famous for her Orange Blossom Wedding cake and seven-layer Frango cake.

Despite her loss of hearing, Mammy was the center of all family celebrations, making elaborate speeches at family parties until the last years of her life.

Ruth and Girard spent their final years together, and through their struggles with cancer, dementia, and old age, they remained loving and devoted. They happily spent almost all their waking hours together, holding hands and chatting contentedly. Although Ruth suffered extensive speech loss toward the end of her life, she continued to express her love and gratitude to those around her. As her sisters have said, "Ruthie had personality-plus" from two to 92. She is deeply loved by all who know her, and will be sorely missed.

Ruth's sweetheart, Edward Girard Hale, and her son, Edward Hale, preceded her in death. She is survived by three children, Mary Elizabeth Hammond (Jack), Kathleen Webb (Richard), Michael Hale (Kristen), and daughter-in-law, Mickey Lieber Hale, as well as nine grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Services: Monday, April 28, 2008 at the Emigration Stake Center on 18th Avenue in Salt Lake City; viewing 12 p.m., funeral service 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Rocky Mountain Hospice, 5250 South Commerce Drive #270, Murray, UT 84107.